Navigation Links
Measuring the stress of forested areas
Date:7/22/2008

This release is available in Spanish.

Plants undergo stress because of lack of water, due to the heat or the cold or to excess of light. A research team from the University of the Basque Country have analysed the substances that are triggered in plants to protect themselves, with the goal of choosing the species that is best suited to the environment during reforestation under adverse environmental conditions.

Droughts, extreme temperatures, contamination, and so on all are harmful to plants. On occasions, the damage is caused by humans. For example, as a consequence of cutting down trees, plants used to shady conditions may be exposed to an excess of light. However, in most cases it is nature itself that causes the stress. In spring, plants have sufficient average humidity and temperatures, i.e. what scientists deem 'optimum conditions'. But in winter they have to withstand considerable cold and in summer, on the other hand, high temperatures and droughts: adverse environmental factors that generate stress situations. Thus, in winter and in summer, the light which under normal conditions would be a source of energy becomes excessive, given that the metabolism of the plants under these conditions is not able to assimilate it. This process is known as photo-oxidative stress.

Some plants are incapable of withstanding this stress unable to dissipate the excess energy, generating a chain reaction by which they deteriorate and die. Other species, on the other hand, undergo processes of acclimatising themselves to the new situation and trigger chemical compounds that act to protect them. These species are the object of interest of a research team from the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The members of this team called EKOFISKO and led by Dr. Txema Becerril are studying the plants' defence mechanisms in order to predict damage before it is produced. They measure the photo-protector substances created by the plants and analyse their behaviour, using them as biosensors of photo-oxidative stress.

Amongst all these plants, they have been studying trees and other forest species, given that they are long-cycle species and it is important that they acclimatize correctly to the environment before reforestation is embarked upon. The autochthonous species of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAPV), especially the southern part thereof, being where the two climatic regions - the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet, would be the first to suffer the consequences of climate change. The study mainly involves species with ecological, economic or landscape interest, and analyses both the deciduous species and the perennial varieties; particularly the latter as they withstand the cold winter temperatures without shedding their leaves.

On the trail of the box tree

The box is a model species and a good example for analysing the defence mechanisms of plants: it is capable of withstanding quite different environments (both dry and sunny climes as well as damp and shaded conditions), thanks to its resistance and adaptability. When it is under stress, the leaves go red, as other species do in autumn, but its peculiarity is that it is able to convert its chromoplasts (where the red pigments accumulate) into chloroplasts (with green pigments) and once again capture energy when the stress conditions disappear.

In order to measure the biomarkers of photo-oxidative stress the research team also simulated the winter or summer conditions in the greenhouse and in the growing rooms at the Faculty of Science and Technology, i.e. they artificially induced in the plants the conditions which they would have to be subjected. This makes it possible to isolate each one of the stress agents and to study its consequences, leaving aside the rest of the variables found in nature.

According to what the research team at the UPV/EHU have shown, the secret to being the most adaptable species lies in accumulating antioxidants, such as vitamin E and special carotenoids (carotenes and xantophylls); precisely the substances that provide colour to plants. On receiving too much light, the VAZ cycle is triggered and the balance between three xantophylls (corresponding to these 3 initials) is altered so that the excess energy does not harm the plants. The human body, for example, is not capable of creating these highly important substances itself and it has to ingest vegetables in order to obtain antioxidants (from plants). Besides studying the VAZ cycle, Mr Txema Becerril's team has contributed to the discovery of a new cycle (the lutein epoxide cycle), present in many forest species such as beech, laurel, holm oak or oak and the team is currently studying what exactly is its protective function.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alaitz Ochoa de Eribe
alaitzo@elhuyar.com
34-688-673-679
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Atmospheric measuring device for understanding smog formation
2. Positron emission tomography superior to standard evaluation tools in measuring treatment response
3. New approach to measuring carbon in forests
4. Biosensor for measuring stress in cells
5. Mice stressed in simulated weightlessness show organ atrophy
6. Heat stress influences low conception of dairy herds
7. Boston College profs study oxidative stress subcellular to discover its role in diseases
8. Researchers find evidence linking stress caused by the Sept. 11 disaster with low birth weights
9. Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team to study psychosocial stress
10. Social stress + darkness = increased anxiety
11. Relationship between environmental stress and cancer elucidated
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Measuring the stress of forested areas
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- First quarter 2016:   , Revenues ... first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% ... and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per ... from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook ... 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, ... ... assay development and manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the ... As a result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Founder of the Fitzmaurice Hand ... and surgery of the hand by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, ... and beyond in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, effective treatment for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company ... granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for the treatment of ... the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... The need for blood donations in South Texas and across ... South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, blood donations are on the decline. In fact, donations ... are down 21 percent in South Texas in the last four years alone. , There ...
Breaking Biology Technology: