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Physiological and biochemical responses to ozone (O) (150 ppb, 8 h day, 35 consecutive days) of two Italian provenances (Piedmont and Tuscany) of Fraxinus excelsior L. were evaluated, with special attention to the role of phenylpropanoids. Our results indicate (i) the high O sensitivity especially of Piedmont provenance (in terms of visible injury, water status, and photosynthetic apparatus); (ii) although the intra-specific sensitivity to O between provenances differs (mainly due to different stomatal behaviors since only Tuscany plants partially avoided the uptake of the pollutant gas), both provenances showed detoxification and defense mechanisms; (iii) the crucial participation of phenylpropanoids, with a key role played by flavonoids (especially quercitrin): among this class of metabolites, isoquercitrin is the principal player in the lower O sensitivity of Tuscany plants, together with lignins; (iv) although coumarins (typical compounds of Fraxinus) were severely depressed by O, isofraxidin was triggered suggesting a key role in reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification, as well as trans-chalcone. Furthermore, the different behavior of verbascoside and oleuropein among provenances lead us to speculate on their influence in the tentatively repair or acclimation shown by Piedmont plants at the end of the exposure. Finally, the intra-specific O sensitivity may be also due to de novo peaks triggered by O not yet associated to some chemicals.
PMID: 27995504 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]