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Research Paper | May 1, 2012

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Identification of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted from three European orchid species with different pollination strategies: two deceptive orchids (Himantoglossum robertianum and Ophrys apifera) and a rewarding orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)

E. Gallego, A. Gelabert, F. J. Roca, J. F. Perales, X. Guardino

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.2(5), 18-29, May 2012


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Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission was evaluated in the inflorescences of three species of the family Orchidaceae: Himantoglossum robertianum, Ophrys apifera and Gymnadenia conopsea, that comprise three different pollinationstrategies: non-rewarding food deceptive, non-rewarding sexually deceptive and nectar rewarding, respectively. VOC were dynamically sampled in custom packed glass multi-sorbent cartridge tubes (Carbotrap, Carbopack X and Carboxen 569). A modified Tedlar® gas sampling bag was placed in vivo covering the inflorescence of the studied orchid, a design that prevents the dilution of the VOC mixture emitted by the flower. Multi-sorbent bed tubes were analysed through automatic thermal desorption coupled with a capillary gas chromatography/mass spectrometry detector. A total of 106 different VOC were found in the scents emitted by the three different studied orchids. A 54% of these compounds had already been identified in floral scents. Generally, only 3 compounds were highly abundant in each species: α-pinene, β-pinene and limonene in Himantoglossum robertianum; 1-butanol, butyl ether and caryophyllene in Ophrys apifera; and phenethyl acetate, eugenoland benzaldehyde in Gymnadenia conopsea. The employment of the presented methodology for the retention of emitted VOC has proven to be suitable for the identification of a wide range of floral released compounds.


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Identification of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted from three European orchid species with different pollination strategies: two deceptive orchids (Himantoglossum robertianum and Ophrys apifera) and a rewarding orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)

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