Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invasive kudzu is major factor in surface ozone pollution, study shows

18.05.2010
Kudzu, an invasive vine that is spreading across the southeastern United States and northward, is a major contributor to large-scale increases of the pollutant surface ozone, according to a study published the week of May 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kudzu, a leafy vine native to Japan and southeastern China, produces the chemicals isoprene and nitric oxide, which, when combined with nitrogen in the air, form ozone, an air pollutant that causes significant health problems for humans. Ozone also hinders the growth of many kinds of plants, including crop vegetation.

"We found that this chemical reaction caused by kudzu leads to about a 50 percent increase in the number of days each year in which ozone levels exceed what the Environmental Protection Agency deems as unhealthy," said study co-author Manuel Lerdau, a University of Virginia professor of environmental sciences and biology. "This increase in ozone completely overcomes the reductions in ozone realized from automobile pollution control legislation."

Lerdau and his former graduate student, lead author Jonathan Hickman – now a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University – used field studies at three sites in Georgia to determine the gas production of kudzu. They then worked with Shiliang Wu and Loretta Mickley, atmospheric scientists at Harvard University, who used atmospheric chemistry computer models to evaluate the potential 50-year effect of kudzu invasion on regional air quality.

"Essentially what we found is that this biological invasion has the capacity to degrade air quality, and in all likelihood over time lead to increases in air pollution, increases in health problems caused by that air pollution, and decreases in agricultural productivity," Lerdau said.

"This is yet another compelling reason to begin seriously combating this biological invasion. What was once considered a nuisance, and primarily of concern to ecologists and farmers, is now proving to be a potentially serious health threat."

Ozone acts as an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, and can damage the lungs, sometimes causing asthma or worsening asthma symptoms. It also is a mutagen and can cause lung cancer.

Ozone, while essential to the health of the Earth in the upper atmosphere where it shields the surface from excess ultraviolet radiation, is hazardous to human health when it forms at the earth's surface. This occurs most often in the summertime as plants grow and produce chemicals that react with the air.

Introduced to the United States in the late 19th century, kudzu, with its unique nitrogen-fixing physiology, allows a rapid, nearly uninhibited rate of growth, about three times the rate of trees and other vegetation. The vine was cultivated more extensively in the 1920s and 1930s as a control for soil erosion and rapidly became known as "the vine that ate the South."

In recent, milder winters, Kudzu has expanded its range northward into Pennsylvania and New York.

"What was once a Southern problem is now becoming an East Coast issue," Lerdau said.

Various strategies are used for controlling and eradicating kudzu, including livestock grazing, burning, mowing and herbicides.

Fariss Samarrai | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.virginia.edu

Further reports about: Invasive Gartenameise Kudzu computer model health problems

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>