Strong sesquiterpene emissions from Amazonian soils

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • E. Bourtsoukidis
  • T. Behrendt
  • A. M. Yañez-Serrano
  • H. Hellén
  • Diamantopoulos, Efstathios
  • E. Catão
  • K. Ashworth
  • A. Pozzer
  • C. A. Quesada
  • D. L. Martins
  • M. Sá
  • A. Araujo
  • J. Brito
  • P. Artaxo
  • J. Kesselmeier
  • J. Lelieveld
  • J. Williams

The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest source of reactive volatile isoprenoids to the atmosphere. It is generally assumed that these emissions are products of photosynthetically driven secondary metabolism and released from the rainforest canopy from where they influence the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere. However, recent measurements indicate that further sources of volatiles are present. Here we show that soil microorganisms are a strong, unaccounted source of highly reactive and previously unreported sesquiterpenes (C15H24; SQT). The emission rate and chemical speciation of soil SQTs were determined as a function of soil moisture, oxygen, and rRNA transcript abundance in the laboratory. Based on these results, a model was developed to predict soil-atmosphere SQT fluxes. It was found SQT emissions from a Terra Firme soil in the dry season were in comparable magnitude to current global model canopy emissions, establishing an important ecological connection between soil microbes and atmospherically relevant SQTs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2226
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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