Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 224–243 | Cite as

Strong Induction of Minor Terpenes in Italian Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens, in Response to Infection by the Fungus Seiridium cardinale

  • Ander Achotegui-CastellsEmail author
  • Roberto Danti
  • Joan Llusià
  • Gianni Della Rocca
  • Sara Barberini
  • Josep Peñuelas


Seiridium cardinale, the main fungal pathogen responsible for cypress bark canker, is the largest threat to cypresses worldwide. The terpene response of canker-resistant clones of Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens, to two differently aggressive isolates of S. cardinale was studied. Phloem terpene concentrations, foliar terpene concentrations, as well as foliar terpene emission rates were analyzed 1, 10, 30, and 90 days after artificial inoculation with fungal isolates. The phloem surrounding the inoculation point exhibited de novo production of four oxygenated monoterpenes and two unidentified terpenes. The concentrations of several constitutive mono- and diterpenes increased strongly (especially α-thujene, sabinene, terpinolene, terpinen-4-ol, oxygenated monoterpenes, manool, and two unidentified diterpenes) as the infection progressed. The proportion of minor terpenes in the infected cypresses increased markedly from the first day after inoculation (from 10 % in the control to 30–50 % in the infected treatments). Foliar concentrations showed no clear trend, but emission rates peaked at day 10 in infected trees, with higher δ-3-carene (15-fold) and total monoterpene (10-fold) emissions than the control. No substantial differences were found among cypresses infected by the two fungal isolates. These results suggest that cypresses activate several direct and indirect chemical defense mechanisms after infection by S. cardinale.


VOCs cypress bark canker Sabinene Manool Oxygenated monoterpenes De novo 



This research was supported by the Spanish Government project CGL 2013-48074, the Catalan Government project SGR 2014-274, the European Research Council Synergy grant ERC-2013-SyG-610028-IMBALANCE-P, the COST Action FP0903 and the Project CypFire (2G-MED09-070) II Appel à Project-Programme MED 2009. Special thanks go to Annalisa Pecchioli, Giovanni Torraca, Vincenzo Di Lonardo, Marco Michelozzi, Gabrielle Cencetti and Francesco Loreto for their support and advice for the sampling and chemical analyses.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ander Achotegui-Castells
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Roberto Danti
    • 3
  • Joan Llusià
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gianni Della Rocca
    • 3
  • Sara Barberini
    • 3
  • Josep Peñuelas
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CREAFCerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  2. 2.CSICGlobal Ecology Unit CREAF-CEAB-UABCerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  3. 3.IPSP-CNRSesto FlorentinoItaly

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