Forest remnants present in megacities often must deal with air pollutants. This abiotic stress can trigger different plant defense responses, such as the production of primary and secondary metabolites and biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC). These chemical defenses share some precursors for their biosynthesis, which can lead to a trade-off between defenses. BVOCs are also relevant from the viewpoint of atmospheric chemistry, especially in large urban centers, as BVOCs emitted by plants can react with air pollutants, worsening air quality. The Metropolitan Area of São Paulo (MASP) is an excellent opportunity to study how native plants from the Atlantic Forest respond to this abiotic stress and understand how BVOCs emitted by representatives of this biome contribute to atmospheric chemistry. Thus, the objective of this project is to evaluate the BVOC emission and the production of biomarkers of urban stress (primary metabolites and phenolic compounds) in native plants of Atlantic Forest located in two forest reserves at MASP (inside and outside MASP), comparing regions with different influences levels of atmospheric pollution. This proposal is part of the bilateral project BIOMASP+, a Franco-Brazilian partnership, which aims to evaluate the impact of biosphere-atmosphere interactions on gaseous and particulate urban pollution in a changing climate. From the combination of the expertise on plant defense responses to air pollutants of different researchers involved in this proposal, it is expected to contribute to increasing knowledge about plant responses to atmospheric pollutants, to determine the influence of these pollutants on the composition and levels of BVOC emitted by native plants from Atlantic Forest - a poorly studied biome chemically -, in addition to contributing to the development of the BIOMASP+ project. Therefore, different high-resolution techniques for analysis and identification of plant metabolism compounds will be used in order to answer some of the main questions of this proposal: What is the profile and concentration of BVOCs and primary and secondary metabolites produced by the most abundant plant species of the Atlantic Forest in the two remnants? Are there differences in the pattern of defense response in the two studied regions? Does seasonality influence the chemical responses of plants in both areas in the same way? Could there be a trade-off between the production of volatile (BVOC) and non-volatile (secondary metabolites) defenses?
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: