Thursday, October 14, 2010

Destructive Ground-Level Ozone

Experts from the School of Biology, the University of Newcastle and Institute for Research on the Environment and Sustainability have conducted a study on the effects of ozone on the process of photosynthesis. Near-surface ozone contributes to vast pollution impacts on vegetation worldwide and directly links to crop yield and economic loss. Two lettuce selections grown in Greece were tested for the consequences of ozone on the photosynthetic process.
Scientists studied the activity of lettuce growth in a controlled environment. The Lactuca sativa samples were selected from Paris Island and Grenada which are two of the main crops grown in Greece. While Paris Island is grown in the winter months, Grenada is grown in summer. During the study, scientists gathered that “ozone exposure triggers a general decline in the expression of photosynthetic genes.” A protein; Rubisco small, large, and activase; appeared to have reduced activity while in the presence of ozone, which in turn causes a decline in photosynthesis.
The presence of ozone today is very threatening in many aspects. The scientists of the study say that, “ indeed, it seems quite possible that exposure to ozone triggers accelerated foliar senescence or programmed cell death and the observed effects on Rubisco quantity and activity may be just one, of many, repercussions of this irreversible sequence of events.” Not only is there an irreversible sequence of events within the plant’s photosynthetic progression, but it is also the surrounding environment and economy that is undoubtly affected. Carbon dioxide emissions are controlled by the plants that survive in the environment. The vegetation is being corrupted with the presence of ozone, thus causing an increased rate of global warming. As a result of the effect of ozone on crops, is the economic decrease for crops that are sensitive to the ground-level ozone as well.

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