Journal Article

Accumulation of flavonoids and related compounds in birch induced by UV-B irradiance

Anu Lavola

in Tree Physiology

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 53-58
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Accumulation of flavonoids and related compounds in birch induced by UV-B irradiance

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A growth chamber experiment was conducted to examine the effects of UV-B exposure (4.9 kJ m−2 day−1 of biologically effective UV-B, 280–320 nm) on shoot growth and secondary metabolite production in Betula pendula (Roth) and B. resinifera (Britt.) seedlings originating from environments in Finland, Germany and Alaska differing in solar UV-B radiation and climate. Neither shoot growth nor the composition of secondary metabolites was affected by UV-B irradiance, but the treatment induced significant changes in the amounts of individual secondary metabolites in leaves. Leaves of seedlings exposed to UV-B radiation contained higher concentrations of several flavonoids, condensed tannins and some hydroxycinnamic acids than leaves of control seedlings that received no UV-B radiation. At the population level, there was considerable variation in secondary metabolite responses to UV-B radiation: among populations, the induced response was most prominent in Alaskan populations, which were adapted to the lowest ambient UV-B radiation environment. I conclude that solar UV-B radiation plays an important role in the formation of secondary chemical characteristics in birch trees.

Keywords: Betula pendula; Betula resinifera; birch populations; phenolic acids; tannins; ultraviolet-B radiation

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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