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Biosynthèse des composés odorants chez différents Pelargonium utilisés pour la production d'huile essentielle

Abstract : Pelargonium sp, also named rose scented « geranium » or « Geranium rosat » is one of the the most cultivated aromatic and medicinal plant worldwide, especially for its essential oil (EO), which is used by cosmetic and perfumery industries. This essence is extracted from leaves by steam distillation and gives an EO containing several hundreds of organic volatile compounds (VOC). This complexity is the result of a long evolutive process and varietal selections. Among these VOC, the monoterpenes like geraniol, citronellol and isomenthone and the sesquiterpenes like 10-γ-epieudesmol and 6,9-guaiadiene, play an important role for the Pelargonium fragrance. The relative proportions of these compounds are used as EO quality markers and determine the different cultivars origins (P. cv. ‘rosat Bourbon’, P. cv. ‘rosat Chine’, P. cv. ‘rosat Egypt’ and P. cv. ‘rosat Grasse’). Despite the important researches on the chemistry of these EO, there is no information on the biosynthesis pathways for these molecules and no genes involved in the pathways have been isolated. During this PhD thesis, we have functionally characterized by recombinant proteins expression and purification in Escherichia coli, four genes, three monoterpene and one sesquiterpene synthases, coding for key enzymes in terpene biosynthesis pathway. The first enzyme is a mono-product geraniol synthase. The second enzyme is a multi-product enzyme with a major peak of myrcene and 3 minor peaks of other monoterpenes. The third enzymes is also a multi-product protein, producing 1,8-cineol as major product and 10 others monoterpenes. The last one is a multi-products sesquiterpene synthase producing mainly the 10-γ-epi-eudesmol and other sesquiterpenes. We have also analyzed the level of expression of the geraniol and 10 γ-epi-eudesmol synthases in several Pelargonium accessions by RT-qPCR and we have demonstrated the relationship between the level of expression of these two terpene synthases and the quantity of the related terpenes produced in leaves. Pelargonium transformation efficiency by Agrobacterium tumefaciens was tested in order to complete the functional characterization of the genes. In a second part, we have analyzed the essence of 64 species and cutivars of Pelargonium having very different fragrances like lemon, mint, rose, apricot, pine, spices… With different statistical tools (PCA, discriminant analysis…), we have highlighted the links between the biochemistry of these species and cultivars, their odors and their phylogenetic relationships. This worked gave us some interesting ideas for some new crossings. Finally, the last chapter concerns the EO production improvements in Egypt. Thanks to these researches, started 3 years ago, we are improving year after year our EO yield and quality in our 10 Ha R&D plantation. An important work was done to optimize the distillation process and improve the agricultural practices which abled us to reach a yield of 60 kg of EO per hectare. Some other experiments show the effect of the environmental factors such as the temperature on the biosynthesis of several important molecules like citronellol and geraniol, 6,9-guaiadiene and 10-γ-epi-eudesmol
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Bernard Blerot. Biosynthèse des composés odorants chez différents Pelargonium utilisés pour la production d'huile essentielle. Biologie végétale. Université de Lyon, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSES003⟩. ⟨tel-01763435⟩

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