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Oxidative stress response and photosystem 2 efficiency in trees of urban areas

, : Oxidative stress response and photosystem 2 efficiency in trees of urban areas. Photosynthetica (Prague) 33(3-4): 467-481

The neophyte Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven), 1751 introduced from China to England, is propagating in some urban areas very successfully in spite of the increasing air pollution, whereas many traditional urban trees decline. It was examined, whether this rapid spread might be supported by a high capacity of antioxidative protection. In comparison to Betula, Tilia and Platanus, the leaves of Ailanthus had the lowest content of thiobarbiturate-reactive substances (TBA-rs) and the highest activity of ascorbate-specific peroxidase (AS-POD). This indicated a lower level of oxidative lipid breakdown and a higher capacity for detoxification of H-2O-2 in leaves of Ailanthus than in the other three species. Further on, the quantum yield of photosystem (PS) 2, DELTA-F/F-m', was quantified by means of fluorimetric analysis. Whereas no differences were found between Ailanthus, Betula and Platanus, the leaves of Tilia had a relative lower efficiency in PS2 photochemistry. The air analyses done by the Senat von Berlin were used in order to examine the influence of actual concentrations of air pollutants O-3, SO-2 and NO-x, on the leaves of investigated trees. Only the leaves of Ailanthus might react on air pollution in different habitats by elevating the activity of AS-POD under high pollution, but in a very limited way. The quantum yield of PS2 and the amount of TBA-rs in the leaves were not influenced by the concentration of air pollutants. Differences between individual trees within species can be due to the genotype or to edaphic factors, but not to the level of air pollution of the habitat. Therefore improvement of cultivation, fertilization, aeration of the soil and other measures should be helpful for the survival of urban trees even under strong immission conditions.

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