Increases in both acute and chronic temperature potentiate tocotrienol concentrations in wild barley at 'Evolution Canyon'

Yu Shen, Ephraim Lansky, Maret Traber, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biosynthesis of tocols (vitamin E isoforms) is linked to response to temperature in plants. 'Evolution Canyon', an ecogeographical microcosm extending over an average of 200 meters (range 100-400) wide area in the Carmel Mountains of northern Israel, has been suggested as a model for studying global warming. Both domestic (Hordeum vulgare) and wild (Hordeum spontaneum) barley compared with wheat, oat, corn, rice, and rye show high tocotrienol/tocopherol ratios. Therefore, we hypothesized that tocol distribution might change in response to global warming. α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocopherol, and α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocotrienol concentrations were measured in wild barley (H. spontaneum) seeds harvested from the xeric (African) and mesic (European) slopes of Evolution Canyon over a six-year period from 2005-2011. Additionally, we examined seeds from areas contiguous to and distant from the part of the Canyon severely burned during the Carmel Fire of December 2010. Increased α-tocotrienol (p<0.01) was correlated with 1) temperature increases, 2) to the hotter 'African' slope in contrast to the cooler 'European' slope, and 3) to propinquity to the fire. The study illustrates the role of α-tocotrienol in both chronic and acute temperature adaptation in wild barley and suggests future research into thermoregulatory mechanisms in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1696-1705
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry and Biodiversity
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Carmel big fire
  • Global warming
  • Hordeum spontaneum
  • Thermoregulation
  • Vitamin E biosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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