Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Atmospheric benzenoid emissions from plants riv...

Electronic data

  • NHBiogenicBenzenoidR2

    Accepted author manuscript, 172 KB, Word document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Atmospheric benzenoid emissions from plants rival those from fossil fuels

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • P. Misztal
  • J. Wildt
  • J. D. Blande
  • A.S.D. Eller
  • S. Fares
  • D. R. Gentner
  • J. B. Gilman
  • M. Graus
  • J. Greenberg
  • A. Guenther
  • A Hansel
  • Peter Harley
  • M. Huang
  • K. Jardine
  • T. Karl
  • L. Kaser
  • F.N. Keutsch
  • A. Kiendler-Scharr
  • E. Kleist
  • B.M. Lerner
  • T. Li
  • J. Mak
  • A.C. Nölscher
  • R. Schnitzhofer
  • V. Sinha
  • B. Thornton
  • C. Warneke
  • F. Wegener
  • C. Werner
  • J. Williams
  • D.R. Worton
  • N. Yassaa
  • A.H. Goldstein
Article number21064
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/07/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Despite the known biochemical production of a range of aromatic compounds by plants and the presence of benzenoids in floral scents, the emissions of only a few benzenoid compounds have been reported from the biosphere to the atmosphere. Here, using evidence from measurements at aircraft, ecosystem, tree, branch and leaf scales, with complementary isotopic labeling experiments, we show that vegetation (leaves, flowers, and phytoplankton) emits a wide variety of benzenoid compounds to the atmosphere at substantial rates. Controlled environment experiments show that plants are able to alter their metabolism to produce and release many benzenoids under stress conditions. The functions of these compounds remain unclear but may be related to chemical communication and protection against stress. We estimate the total global secondary organic aerosol potential from biogenic benzenoids to be similar to that from anthropogenic benzenoids (~10 Tg y-1), pointing to the importance of these natural emissions in atmospheric physics and chemistry.