The volatiles emitted in vivo by different plant parts of Citrus limon (Rutaceae) have been identified by mean of head space-solid phase micro extraction (HS-SPME) and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses. In particular, the profiles of flower buds, mature flowers, petals, stamens, gynaecium, pericarp of unripe and ripe fruits, young and adult leaves and pollen have been examined. Furthermore, the essential oil obtained from expression of ripe pericarp was studied. Volatiles were produced in distinctive amounts by the different plant organs, creating an interesting contrast, particularly within the flower parts: the highest amount of limonene (62.5%) was emitted by gynaecium, followed by stamens (22.9%) and petals (3.1%). Pollen did not produce limonene at all. The same compound is contained in higher amounts in the young leaves than in old ones (65.3% versus 30.1%). A possible defensive role of limonene and other volatiles, mainly terpene aldehydes, produced by young leaves has been hypothesized.
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