Plants and soils, especially those in the Amazon rainforest, emit most of the biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) found in the atmosphere. There they affect many processes, such as the formation of secondary organic aerosols, which in turn influence the Earth’s radiative budget. However, few studies thus far looked into emissions from insects such as termites.
BVOCs in the Amazon
Nora Zannoni and her colleagues measured BVOC emissions at the ATTO tall tower in several heights. Specifically, they looked at one particular BVOC called α-pinene. This organic compound exists in two mirror image forms called (−)-α-pinene and (+)-α-pinene. Such chiral forms are identical in all physical properties.