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Direct ecosystem fluxes of volatile organic compounds from oil palms in South-East Asia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • P. K. Misztal
  • E. Nemitz
  • B. Langford
  • C. F. Di Marco
  • G. J. Phillips
  • C. N. Hewitt
  • Rob Mackenzie
  • S. M. Owen
  • D. Fowler
  • M. R. Heal
  • J. N. Cape
Journal publication date2011
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Number of pages23
Original languageEnglish


This paper reports the first direct eddy covariance fluxes of reactive biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from oil palms to the atmosphere using proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), measured at a plantation in Malaysian Borneo. At midday, net isoprene flux constituted the largest fraction (84 %) of all emitted BVOCs measured, at up to 30 mg m(-2) h(-1) over 12 days. By contrast, the sum of its oxidation products methyl vinyl ketone (MVK) and methacrolein (MACR) exhibited clear deposition of 1 mg m(-2) h(-1), with a small average canopy resistance of 230 s m(-1). Approximately 15% of the resolved BVOC flux from oil palm trees could be attributed to floral emissions, which are thought to be the largest reported biogenic source of estragole and possibly also toluene. Although on average the midday volume mixing ratio of estragole exceeded that of toluene by almost a factor of two, the corresponding fluxes of these two compounds were nearly the same, amounting to 0.81 and 0.76 mg m(-2) h(-1), respectively. By fitting the canopy temperature and PAR response of the MEGAN emissions algorithm for isoprene and other emitted BVOCs a basal emission rate of isoprene of 7.8 mg m(-2) h(-1) was derived. We parameterise fluxes of depositing compounds using a resistance approach using direct canopy measurements of deposition. Consistent with Karl et al. (2010), we also propose that it is important to include deposition in flux models, especially for secondary oxidation products, in order to improve flux predictions.