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:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited ... to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the ... well as DERMALOGĀ“s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each other or ... individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... England , March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , ... chosen by The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to ... across The Trust. The UK,s leading youth charity will ... social campaign results and get a better understanding of the topics ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... , ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... leading supplier of Common Lisp (CL) development tools, and market leader for ... includes key performance enhancements now available within the most effective system for developing ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Dr. Robert ... P.A. , proudly announced today that acclaimed physiatrist Matthew Terzella, MD, has joined ... 15, 2017. , Dr. Terzella completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... denaturation in a cellular milieu; however, the broad application of this cellular target ... platforms with sensitive quantitative readouts. Cell-based thermal stabilization assays are valuable methods for ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... more than a year, Formaspace is pleased to introduce it to top lab design ... Carolina. Formaspace CEO Jeff Turk and VP of Industrial Design and Engineering Greg Casey ...
Breaking Biology Technology: