UV-B induces usnic acid in reindeer lichens
Induction of secondary compounds in three reindeer lichens (Cladonia arbuscula, C. rangiferina and C. stellaris) was studied under controlled conditions in a growth chamber. Acetone rinsed (secondary compounds removed) lichen mats were subjected to three light regimes (PAR, PAR+UV-A and PAR+UV-A+UV-B), each combined with simulated herbivory (clipping). After 4 weeks, lichen extracts were analyzed by HPLC for any synthesized secondary compounds. UV-B induced the synthesis of usnic acid in C. arbuscula and C. stellaris and melanic pigments in C. rangiferina. Atranorin, fumarprotocetraric acid and perlatolic acid were not influenced by light quality. None of the identified compounds were significantly influenced by clipping. In conclusion, all three lichen species responded to UV-B radiation by developing cortical UV-B absorbing pigments that might function as protective screens. However, the experiment did not produce evidence for a herbivore-deterrent role of compounds studied.(Accepted March 10 2006)
Key Words: atronorin; Cladonia spp.; fumarprotocetraric acid; herbivory; melanin; perlatolic acid.