Chemistry & Biodiversity, 2022.

Chemical Composition of the Unexplored Volatile Fraction of Betula glandulosa, a Prevalent Shrub in Nunavik, Quebec

Jean-Christophe SÉguin, Xavier Fernandez, StÉphane Boudreau and Normand Voyer

The volatile fraction of the leaves of Betula glandulosa Michx. has been investigated for its secondary metabolite composition by GC-MS and GC/FID. The rapid expansion of this shrub species in subarctic landscapes, like the ones found in Nunavik (Northern Québec, Canada), highly impacts ecosystem dynamics. Yet, despite its abundance, few phytochemical investigations have yet been conducted on this species. In this study, we present the first phytochemical investigation of the volatile metabolites of B. glandulosa leaves. Although no essential oil was isolated, volatile compounds were extracted from the hydrosol by steam distillation. The main metabolites observed were linalool (14.6 – 19.0%), C 6 oxylipins (known as green leaf volatiles, GLV; total of 18.2 – 40.2%), eugenol (1.6 – 8.6%) and a -terpineol (3.3 – 4.8%). Dwarf birch is an important food source for insects and herbivores, so knowledge of its metabolite composition could help understand parts of its functional role in subarctic ecosystems. The composition of the volatile fraction could serve as marker for differentiating B. glandulosa from other dwarf birch species like Betula nana L.

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