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:3/8/2016)... 2016   Valencell , the leading innovator ... has secured $11M in Series D financing. The ... venture fund being launched by UAE-based financial services ... investors TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua Fund. Valencell ... triple-digit growth and accelerate its pioneering innovation in ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... March 3, 2016  2016FLEX, organized by FlexTech, ... highlighting advancements in flexible, hybrid and printed electronics. ... attendance - have gathered for short courses, technical ... of electronics. The Flex Conference celebrates its 15 ... companies, R&D organizations, and universities contributing to the ...
(Date:3/2/2016)... March 2, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market in ... ,     (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , , Global biometrics ... at a CAGR of around 27%   ... has announced the addition of the  "Global ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... of cannabis testing technology at the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. ... pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and more. Expo attendees can stop by booth ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April 27, ... ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt , Ph.D., ... provide an overview and update on the company,s business ... Care Conference. The presentation will take place ... Time, and can be accessed via a live webcast ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Manitoba (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... released for simultaneous preclinical PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) ... better understanding disease and testing novel treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... research report with specific focus on US, EU, ... Japan , to the healthcare business intelligence ... library. Complete report on the Flow ... companies and supported with 282 tables and figures ...
Breaking Biology Technology: