The objective of this research was to ascertain if 1) baseline emission and 2) damage induced emission of volatile plant substances could be detected under greenhouse conditions. A laboratory method was validated for analysing the air in a semi-closed greenhouse with 44 m2 floor area. This greenhouse, with a volume of 270 m3, was climate controlled and light was supplied with assimilation lamps. Sixty tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill cv. Moneymaker) were grown in this greenhouse. These plants were artificially damaged on a weekly interval by stroking the stems. Continuous flow pumps were used to purge the air surrounding the plants through tubes containing an adsorbent. This sampling step was performed before and directly after damage of the plants. After sampling, the tubes were transferred to the lab for analysis. The analysis of volatile compounds was performed using a high-throughput gas chromatography-mass spectrometry system. The method enabled the detection of baseline level emission and the emission of volatiles released after artificially damaging the tomato plants during a 6 weeks growing period. Most dominant compounds for baseline emission were the monoterpenes ß-phellandrene, 2-carene, limonene, ¿-phellandrene and ¿-pinene. Directly after damage, these compounds showed an increase of up to 100 times compared to baseline level emission. With these results, we prove that it is possible to detect baseline- and plant damage induced volatile emission in a greenhouse. This area of research is promising but more research needs to be done to determine whether it is possible to detect plant damage due to pests and pathogens using volatile sensing.
Jansen, R., Hofstee, J. W., Verstappen, F. W. A., Bouwmeester, H. J., Posthumus, M., & van Henten, E. (2008). A method to detect baseline emission and plant damage induced volatile emission in a greenhouse. Acta Horticulturae, 801, 1415-1422. https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.801.174