After testing their hypothesis between the control and infected plants scientists established very interesting results, which were quite astonishing indeed. They found that when they compared the seeds of the soybeans to that of the flax seeds they noticed that surprisingly, the soybean seeds had obtained10 times more radioactivity than that of the flax seeds. The scientists, who were very intrigued by their findings, went into deeper analysis of the flax seeds and how much they differed from that of the control flax. The scientists characterized the flax seeds, which at this time were both at full maturity and they checked the two different seeds’ physical differences. They stated that there was none found in manifestation or weight, the only notable difference between the two was the germination percentage between the control and the radioactively contaminated seeds. Even then, the percentage of the radioactively contaminated seeds was only slightly different from the control (35 of the 720 plants in the Chernobyl area had differently abundant and mature seeds compared to that of the norm), thus making the possibility of the Chernobyl area becoming fit for human habitation very real.
Interestingly enough, though the seeds of the soybean plant were more susceptible to radiation then that of the flax seeds they found that the soybeans’ seeds showed increased levels of glycine betaine. What glycine betaine has been reported to do is in fact protect blood cells (in animals) from IR (Iridium Radiation) damage. They believe that this enzyme may indeed also be protecting the plants from the radiation of Chernobyl!
After all of their findings the team of scientists tried to uncover why these plants would have been able to survive in these harsh condition attributed by the radiation after nearly a quarter of a century later. They came to the conclusion that because of evolution a certain metabolic response to the changes in the plants’ environment is the key to explaining this natural phenomenon. They noticed that exposure to environmental stress caused increased respiration and glycolytic flux (this means that the flux has effected the rate of which glucose was broken down, and in turn created more energy for the plant to survive) (Wiktionary, 21/5/2010). This is what the team had set out to determine about the plants found growing in the Chernobyl area. Some sort of metabolic response to this glycolytic flux is allowing these plants to survive.
Currently the scientists who already conducted this study are investigating more thoroughly into the area and hope to obtain new information soon about this promising theory. They hope that if plants are able to survive these harsh conditions possibly one day soon in the near future humans may return to inhabit the area of Chernobyl. (Klubicova, Katarina, Maksym Danchenko, Ludovit Skultety, Jan A. Miernyk, and Valentyna V. Berezhna, 6940-6946).
Klubicova, Katarina, Maksym Danchenko, Ludovit Skultety, Jan A. Miernyk, and Valentyna V. Berezhna. "Proteomics Analysis of Flax Grown in Chernobyl Area Suggests Limited Effect of Contaminated Environment on Seed Proteome." Environmental Science & Technology 44.18 6940-6946. Web. 11 Oct 2010.
"Glycolysis." Wiktionary. N.p., 21/5/2010. Web. 11 Oct 2010.
"Glossary: Proteomics ." iSciWNY. Educational Opportunity Center, 2010. Web. 11 Oct 2010.