Preservation of monoterpenoids in Oligocene resin: Insights into the evolution of chemical defense mechanism of plants in deep-time

Swagata Paul, Doris Groß, Achim Bechtel, Suryendu Dutta

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Monoterpenoid class of compounds is well-known for the characteristic odor and their contribution in various ecological functions such as plant-insect interaction, defense, pollinator attraction etc. They are extremely volatile and labile by nature and therefore their preservation in geological samples is quite uncommon. In the present article we report, exceptionally preserved monoterpenoids in late Oligocene resin from offshore Shimokita, Japan. Compounds viz. fenchol, fenchone, camphor, borneol, isoborneol are detected in appreciable quantity while camphene, isocamphene and p-cymene are found in low amount. Such rare phenomenon suggests that the amber must have experienced some unique diagenetic condition which favored the preservation of these volatile compounds. These monoterpenes have distinct aroma and they actively contribute into the chemical defense mechanisms of extant plant species. Their excellent preservation in late Oligocene amber depicts that such chemical defense strategies had already been developed by plants during early Cenozoic.

FachzeitschriftInternational journal of coal geology
Ausgabenummer2 January
Frühes Online-Datum12 Nov. 2019
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2 Jan. 2020

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
We are thankful to Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay for the instrument facilities. S.D. acknowledges Department of Science and Technology (DST), India for financial support (Swarnajayanti fellowship). We would like to thank Integrated Ocean Drilling Program ( IODP ), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology ( JAMSTEC ) for providing samples of deep coalbed off Shimokita from Expedition 337. We express our deep gratitude to all drilling members of Expedition 337 for their support during sampling.

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