Navigation Links
Researchers pinpoint how trees play role in smog production
Date:4/25/2013

After years of scientific uncertainty and speculation, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show exactly how trees help create one of society's predominant environmental and health concerns: air pollution.

It has long been known that trees produce and emit isoprene, an abundant molecule in the air known to protect leaves from oxygen damage and temperature fluctuations. However, in 2004, researchers, contrary to popular assumptions, revealed that isoprene was likely involved in the production of particulate matter, tiny particles that can get lodged in lungs, lead to lung cancer and asthma, and damage other tissues, not to mention the environment.

But exactly how was anybody's guess.

Jason Surratt, assistant professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, now reveals one mechanism by which isoprene contributes to the production of these tiny, potentially health-damaging particles.

The study found that isoprene, once it is chemically altered via exposure to the sun, reacts with man-made nitrogen oxides to create particulate matter. Nitrogen oxides are pollutants created by cars, trucks, aircrafts, coal plants and other large scale sources.

"The work presents a dramatic new wrinkle in the arguments for reducing man-made pollutants worldwide," said Surratt, whose work was published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Isoprene evolved to protect trees and plants, but because of the presence of nitrogen oxides, it is involved in producing this negative effect on health and the environment."

"We certainly can't cut down all the trees," Surratt adds, "but we can work on reducing these man-made emissions to cut down the production of fine particulate matter."

With the precise mechanism now revealed, researchers can plug it into air quality models for better predicting episodes of air pollution and potential effects on earth's climate. The advance would allow researchers and environmental agencies to evaluate and make regulatory decisions that impact public health and climate change.

"We observe nature's quirks, but we must always consider that our actions do have repercussions," said Surratt. "It's the interaction between these natural and man-made emissions that produces this air pollution, smog and fine particulate matter and now we know one reason for how it happens."


'/>"/>

Contact: Thania Benios
thania_benios@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. CNIO researchers capture the replication of the human genome for the first time
2. Researchers abuzz over caffeine as cancer-cell killer
3. An important discovery in breast cancer by IRCM researchers
4. UCLA researchers find nanodiamonds could improve effectiveness of breast cancer treatment
5. Clues to heart disease in unexpected places, Temple researchers discover
6. BUSM researchers identify novel approach to study COPD and treatment efficacy
7. Researchers call for marine observation network
8. Biofilms help Salmonella survive hostile conditions, Virginia Tech researchers say
9. U-M researchers find new way to clear cholesterol from the blood
10. Dartmouth researchers find there is no single sexy chin
11. Researchers design drug to restore cell suicide in HPV-related head and neck cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/31/2017)... , Jan. 31, 2017  Spero Therapeutics, ... therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections, today ... of antibacterial candidates from Pro Bono Bio Ltd ... prevalence of multi-drug resistant forms of Gram-negative bacteria.  ... Anti Infectives Ltd, a PBB group company. ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading ... a new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and ... was introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference ... meeting point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations ... Fraud, waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... Jan. 25, 2017 The Elements of Enterprise ... lifecycle is comprised of a comprehensive set of ... of maintaining digital identities and providing a secured ... There are significant number of programs opted by ... time by optimizing processes and changing policies. However, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical company focused on ... therapeutics, announced today the completion of enrollment for the ... The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of ... of restenosis following angioplasty. "We,re pleased ... said Nathan Bachtell , M.D., Chief Medical Officer ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... FireflySci, ... Founded in late 2014, FireflySci had the goal of bringing their powerful ... goal continues to shape the path that FireflySci is going on as they add ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- OncoSec Medical Incorporated ("OncoSec") (NASDAQ: ONCS), a company developing ... Leader event to highlight new clinical data that will ... the upcoming 2017 ASCO-SITC Immuno-Oncology Symposium and the Company,s ... in-person and via live webcast on Tuesday, February 28 ... the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... BellBrook Labs is formalizing a ... array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. The company’s Lead Discovery ... programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of action, and inhibitor residence times ...
Breaking Biology Technology: