The role of UV-B radiation in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems - an experimental and functional analysis of the evolution of UV-absorbing compounds

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Lebert M
Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B-Biology
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication year: 2002
Volume: 66
Journal issue: 1
Pages range: 2-12
ISSN: 1011-1344


In the dune grassland species studied outdoors, at least five different flavonoids appeared in shoot tissue. Some of the flavonoids in the monocot species, which were identified and quantified with HPLC, included orientin, luteolin, tricin and apigenin. A greenhouse study with Vicia faba showed that two flavonoids (aglycones) respond particularly to enhanced UV-B. Of these, quercetin is UV-B inducible and mainly located in epidermal cells, while kaempferol occurs constitutively. In addition to its UV-screening function, quercetin may also act as an antioxidant. Polychromatic action spectra were determined for induction of the UV-absorbing pigments in three photosynthetic organisms, representing very different taxonomic group., and different habitats. In ultraviolet photobiology, action spectra mainly serve two purposes: (1) identification of the molecular species involved in light absorption; and (2) calculation of radiation amplification factors for assessing the effect of ozone depletion. Radiation amplification factors (RAFs) were calculated from the action spectra. In a somewhat simplified way, RAF can be defined as the percent increase of radiation damage for a 1% depletion of the ozone layer. Central European summer conditions were used in the calculations, but it has been shown that RAF values are not critically dependent on latitude or season. If only the ultraviolet spectral region is considered, the RAF values obtained are 0.7 for the green alga Prasiola stipitata, 0.4 for the dinoflagellate Gyrodinium dorsum, and 1.0 for the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. In the case of P. stipitata, however, the effect of visible light (PAR, photosynthetically active radiation, 400-700 nm) is sufficient to lower the RAF to about 0.4, while the PAR effect for G. dorsum is negligible. RAFs for some damage processes, such as for DNA damage (RAF=2.1 if protective effects or photorepair are not considered [1]), are higher than those above. Our interpretation of this is that if the ozone layer is depleted, increased damaging radiation could overrule increased synthesis of protective pigments. In addition to investigating the functional effectiveness of the different screening compounds, direct UV effects on a number of key processes were also studied in order to gain further insight into the ability of the organisms to withstand enhanced UV-B radiation. To this end, the temperature-dependent repair of cyclobutane dimers (CPD) and (6-4) photoproducts induced by enhanced UV-B was studied in Nicotiana tabacum, and the UV-B induction of CPD was studied in the lichen Cladonia arbuscula [2]. Also, photosynthesis and motility were monitored and the response related to the potential function of the screening compounds of the specific organism. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Lebert, Michael PD Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie

Last updated on 2018-06-08 at 15:08

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