Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) emitted by plants play an important role for ecological and physiological processes, for example as response to stressors. These emitted compounds are involved in chemical processes within the atmosphere and contribute to the formation of aerosols and ozone. Direct measurement of BVOC emissions requires a specialized sample system in order to obtain repeatable and comparable results. These systems need to be constructed carefully since BVOC measurements may be disturbed by several side effects, e.g., due to wrong material selection and lacking system stability.
In order to assess BVOC emission rates, a four plant chamber system was constructed, implemented and throughout evaluated by synthetic tests and in two case studies on 3-year-old sweet chestnut seedlings. Synthetic system test showed a stable sampling with good repeatability and low memory effects. The first case study demonstrated the capability of the system to screen multiple trees within a few days and revealed three different emission patterns of sweet chestnut trees. The second case study comprised an ap ... mehrplication of drought stress on two seedlings compared to two in parallel assessed seedlings of a control. Here, a clear reduction of BVOC emissions during drought stress was observed.
The developed system allows assessing BVOC as well as CO2 and water vapor gas exchange of four tree specimens automatically and in parallel with repeatable results. A canopy volume of 30 l can be investigated, which constitutes in case of tree seedlings the whole canopy. Longer lasting experiments of e.g., 1–3 weeks can be performed easily without any significant plant interference.