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Hydrocarbon Production in Pine by Direct Thermal Extraction


Santford V. Overton and John J. Manura, Scientific Instrument Services, Inc., Ringoes, NJ

Poster Number - 362P

Metabolic links have been made between isoprene emission, a precursor of terpenoid compounds, and the photosynthetic and photorespiratory pathways and the influence of environmental conditions on terpene production among woody, tree species. There exists a significant amount of evidence to indicate that water and nutrient deficiencies or excess ozone and acid rain levels are presently reducing pine productivity, and may reduce growth to a greater extent in future climate change scenarios. It is, therefore, critical that the pathways through which growth is influenced be identified and understood. More sensitive analytical techniques are needed to identify and quantitate the volatile organics to help elucidate these pathways. The purpose of this project is to examined the effect of the environment on hydrocarbon production in white pine and several other species and how this relates to plant productivity. Tree bark and core samples were taken 3 to 4 feet above the base of the tree and analyzed by "Direct Thermal Extraction". This new technique utilizes a thermal desorption apparatus attached to the injection port of a GC/MS system and permits the direct thermal extraction of volatile and semi-volatile organics directly from small sample sizes (mg) without the need for solvent extraction or other sample preparation. The samples are ballistically heated and together with the carrier gas flow through the samples the volatiles are outgassed into the injection port and onto the front of the GC column for subsequent analysis via the GC and/or GC/MS.

This proposed study will add considerably to the present level of knowledge regarding the impact of environmental stresses on the growth of individual trees, and provide a linkage to stand and ecosystem level studies.