Biogenic isoprene was discovered in the mid-1950s as a component of volatile substances emitted from leaves. In plant species emitting isoprene under illumination, this process is closely related to photosynthesis. Thus, a photobiological phenomenon termed “isoprene effect” or isoprene emission (IE) was discovered. Subsequent studies showed that leaves are capable of releasing isoprene also in darkness, though at a rate two orders of magnitude lower than that in illuminated leaves. It is presently known that the isoprene is emitted not by all plant species from various taxonomic groups, whereas the dark release of isoprene occurs in cells of all living organisms. This review presents a brief historical account of studies dealt with IE. A special emphasis is placed on the roles of light as an energy source and of CO2 as a carbon source; these factors create the energy–metabolite flow that runs through the green photosynthesizing cell. The data available suggest that IE can be considered as a manifestation of excretory function of the leaf. An attempt is made to describe IE from the standpoint of thermodynamics of irreversible processes. It is shown that the cell represents a dissipative structure whose organization and stability is provided by irreversible processes running far from equilibrium. General view on isoprene emission is that it results from regulated conversions of carbon and free energy in a series of photosynthetic reactions under stressful conditions caused by CO2 deficit inside illuminated autotrophic cells. This stress generates the energy overflow, far in excess of the energy-consuming capacity. The necessity of discharging this energy excess is dictated by the fact that the living cell is a dissipative structure.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 23, 2004
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