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Direct Contact Sorptive Extraction: A Robust Method for Sampling Plant Volatiles in the Field

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journal contribution
posted on 31.08.2017, 00:00 by Nicole Kfoury, Eric Scott, Colin Orians, Albert Robbat
Plants produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with diverse structures and functions, which change in response to environmental stimuli and have important consequences for interactions with other organisms. To understand these changes, in situ sampling is necessary. In contrast to dynamic headspace (DHS), which is the most often employed method, direct contact sampling employing a magnetic stir bar held in place by a magnet eliminates artifacts produced by enclosing plant materials in glass or plastic chambers. Direct-contact sorptive extraction (DCSE) using polydimethylsiloxane coated stir bars (Twisters) coated stir bars is more sensitive than DHS, captures a wider range of compounds, minimizes VOC collection from neighboring plants, and distinguishes the effects of herbivory in controlled and field conditions. Because DCSE is relatively inexpensive and simple to employ, scalability of field trials can be expanded concomitant with increased sample replication. The sensitivity of DCSE combined with the spectral deconvolution data analysis software makes the two ideal for comprehensive, in situ profiling of plant volatiles.