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.”
Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
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