The effect of solar UV-B radiation on terpenes and biomass production in Grindelia chiloensis (Asteraceae), a woody perennial of Patagonia, Argentina
- Cite this article as:
- Zavala, J.A. & Ravetta, D.A. Plant Ecology (2002) 161: 185. doi:10.1023/A:1020314706567
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UV-B radiation is absorbed effectively by nucleic acids and other sensitive targets, potentially causing harmful photochemical effects. Protection against UV-B radiation may be afforded by flavonoids and other phenolics, which absorb strongly in the UV region, but little is known about the role played by other compounds, such as terpenes. Grindelia chiloensis, native of Patagonia (Argentina), can accumulate as much as 25% resin (terpenes) in its leaves. The present investigation was carried out to test the effect of solar UV-B radiation on the allocation of photoassimilates to biomass and terpenes. Exposure to UV-B radiation reduced whole plant biomass, plant height and leaf area, and increased leaf thickness and resin accumulation in Grindelia chiloensis. Higher absorbance was found for refined resin in the UV-B waveband from plants grown under solar UV-B radiation than plants without UV-B radiation. These chemical and structural changes could protect the plant from UV radiation, and may help elucidate the importance of epicuticular resins for a species as G. chiloensis native to an environment with maximum daily integrated values of solar UV-B irradiance.