News 2011

Effects of UV-B radiation on plants

Wed, 2 Feb 2011

UV conf. logo The effects of UV-B radiation on plants will be the focus for discussion at an international conference on February 6th by the UCC-led EU-COST network (23 European countries, some 75 academic groups) - UV4Growth. Delegates from 21 European countries, as well as New Zealand, will gather for a three-day international conference in Hungary which aims to strengthen the communication between European research groups studying the regulatory properties of UV-B.

Recent research has shown that natural levels of solar UV-B regulate and improve plant growth and especially aspects of food quality, pharmaceutical properties, pest and disease resistance. Thus, in contrast to the doomsday scenarios about deleterious UV-B effects that abounded following the discovery of stratospheric ozone layer depletion in the 1980s, most researchers have started to recognise that UV-B is potentially a very useful tool for plant manipulation.

Regulatory UV-B effects in plants operate across organisational levels, involving one or more UV-B specific molecular signalling pathways that regulate gene expression, altered accumulation of various nutritionally important metabolites such as flavonoids, tocopherols and polyamines, and altered plant architecture. The combined metabolic and architectural changes in turn increase tolerance of plants to diseases and pests, as well as to other “stressful” climatic factors. Indeed, UV-B is likely to play a role in determining the response of plants exposed to specific climate change conditions such as heat and drought. Thus, UV-B radiation is increasingly considered an environmentally relevant regulator of plant growth and development, and new and exciting opportunities for sustainable agriculture, and food and nutritional industries are starting to arise.

The Conference will be held in Szeged, Hungary, on February 6th-8th, 2011.

Click here for further details about UV4Growth.

You can also contact the chair, Dr Marcel A.K. Jansen,, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UCC.

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

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