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How plants near Chernobyl shrug off radiation

Date:
February 15, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

Chernobyl nuclear station in Ukraine.
Credit: iStockphoto/Iryna Rasko

Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine. Their study, which helps solve a long-standing mystery, appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology.

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Martin Hajduch and colleagues note that plants have an unexpected ability to adapt to an environment contaminated with radiation following the April 26, 1986 accident at the Chernobyl. Their previous research, for example, showed that soybean plants in the area have adapted to the contaminated soil with certain changes in their proteome. A proteome is the full complement of proteins produced by the genes in a plant or animal. But the broader range of biochemical changes in plants that allow them to thrive in this harsh environment remained unclear.

The scientists grew flax seeds in radiation-contaminated soil in the Chernobyl region and compared their growth to those of seeds grown in non-radioactive soil. Radiation exposure had relatively little effect on the protein levels in the plants, with only about five percent of the proteins altered, they note. Among them were certain proteins involved in cell signaling, or chemical communication, which might help the plants shrug-off radioactivity, the scientists suggest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katarína Klubicová, Maksym Danchenko, Ludovit Skultety, Ján A. Miernyk, Namik M. Rashydov, Valentyna V. Berezhna, Anna Pret’ová, Martin Hajduch. Proteomics Analysis of Flax Grown in Chernobyl Area Suggests Limited Effect of Contaminated Environment on Seed Proteome. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010; 44 (18): 6940 DOI: 10.1021/es100895s

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "How plants near Chernobyl shrug off radiation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208130042.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, February 15). How plants near Chernobyl shrug off radiation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208130042.htm
American Chemical Society. "How plants near Chernobyl shrug off radiation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208130042.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

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