Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Boosting Vitamin C in Plants Can Help Reduce Smog Damage

13.07.2005


UCR research shows boosting plant vitamin C levels can minimize ozone’s damaging effects


Ozone-damaged plant (left) and normal plant (right). Photo courtesy of Gene Daniels/U.S. EPA



The harmful effects of smog on people and animals – the stinging eyes and decreased lung capacity – are the stuff of well-researched fact. Now, the body of knowledge about air pollution’s effects on plants has grown with University of California, Riverside Biochemistry Professor Daniel Gallie’s discovery of the importance of vitamin C in helping plants defend themselves against the ravages of ozone – smog’s particularly nasty component.

By manipulating dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), a naturally occurring enzyme that recycles vitamin C, to increase the level of the vitamin in leaves, Gallie has been able to reduce the harmful effects of ozone on plants, apparent as brown spots, stunted size, and lowered crop yields. He and Assistant Research Biochemist Dr. Zhong Chen published their findings in a recent paper titled Increasing Tolerance to Ozone by Elevating Foliar Ascorbic Acid Confers Greater Protection Against Ozone Than Increasing Avoidance, in the journal “Plant Physiology.”


Gallie’s previous research found that plants react to smog much like they react to drought, by closing pores (called stomata) present in their leaves. The closed pores protect plants from losing water and taking in ozone, but also prevent the production of sugars through photosynthesis, which are needed for the plant to grow.

“It’s clearly not an effective strategy to protect plants from the effects of long-term exposure to smog,” Gallie said.

Plants, he said, have two options to defend themselves from ozone. They can prevent ozone from entering the leaf by closing their stomata, or use the antioxidant qualities of vitamin C to detoxify the ozone that enters through open stomata and also protect the photosynthetic machinery in the leaf.

Studying acute and chronic ozone exposures, Gallie and Chen looked at which plants fared better, those with lower levels of vitamin C that closed their pores or those with higher levels of vitamin C, open pores, and higher levels of photosynthetic activity. Those with the higher levels of vitamin C fared better in the long run, in both instances, despite the fact that more ozone entered through the open pores of the leaf, Gallie said.

Gallie and Chen’s findings offer a clear direction for a strategy toward developing plants that will be able to grow and thrive in high-ozone environments such as cities and suburban areas.

“Because we’re seeing, especially in this country, the encroachment of urban areas into farm lands, we’re seeing an increased impact on agriculture. Moreover, ornamental plants used for urban and suburban landscaping are heavily affected by exposure to smog,” said Gallie.

The next step in Gallie’s research will focus on the apparent correlation between a plant’s increased vitamin C levels and increased photosynthetic activity.

“There seems to be multiple benefits of increasing the level of vitamin C in plants, including improving their tolerance to smog, improving photosynthesis, and improving their nutritional quality but more research is clearly needed,” he said.

The key question, at least in the near term, is to determine whether increased vitamin C and photosynthesis will result in greater crop yields, he added.

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>