U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Isoprene Discovered to be an Antioxidant
Published: July 23, 2013
Posted: February 07, 2014

A fraction of net carbon assimilation can be re-released as isoprene by many tropical plants; however, much uncertainty remains about its biological significance. A comprehensive analysis of the suite of isoprene oxidation products in plants has not been performed and production relationships with environmental stress have not been described. Traditionally, isoprene is assumed to only be oxidized in the atmosphere to methyl vinyl ketone, methacrolein, and 3-methly furan. Abiotic stress (e.g., high temperature, light, and freeze-thaw) is known to induce oxidative stress in plants. A study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in conjunction with the Department of Energy’s GOAmazon campaign in Brazil, aimed to identify and quantify emissions of potential isoprene oxidation products from mango tree leaves as a function of temperature. Isoprene oxidation products including methyl vinyl ketone, methacrolein, and 3-methyl furan were measured as direct emissions from mango trees grown in environmental chambers. Isoprene oxidation also was measured in a tropical mesocosm (Bisophere 2). These measurements were taken at the leaf, branch, mesocosm, and whole ecosystem scale using chamber and tower sampling systems. The study’s results indicate that emissions of isoprene oxidation products from plants increase with abiotic stress and may be associated with lipid peroxidation at high temperatures. The results suggest that isoprene is an important ecosystem antioxidant involved in signaling processes through the formation of reactive electrophile species. These observations highlight the need to investigate further the mechanisms of isoprene oxidation in plants under stress and its biological and atmospheric significance.

Reference: Jardine, K. J., K. Meyers, L. Abrell, E. G. Alves, A. M. Yanez Serrano, J.  Kesselmeier, T. Karl, A. Guenther, J. Q. Chambers, and C. Vickers. 2013. “Emissions of Putative Isoprene Oxidation Products from Mango Branches Under Abiotic Stress,” Journal of Experimental Botany 64(12), 3669-79. (Reference link)

Contact: Mike Kuperberg, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3281, Daniel Stover, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0289
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)