Response of cellular antioxidants to ozone in wheat flag leaves at different stages of plant development.
ABSTRACT The effect of ozone (O3) on growth, yield and foliar antioxidants of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Turbo) was investigated in 1990 and 1991 in Braunschweig, Germany. Plants were grown full-season in pots in open-top chambers ventilated with charcoal-filtered (CF) air to which one or two levels of O3 were added. Mean 8 h day(-1) (10.00-18.00 h) O3 concentrations in the CF and CF + O3 treatments were 5.9, 61.2 and 92.5 nl litre(-1) in 1990, and 4.7 and 86.4 nl litre(-1) in 1991. Plants that received the high O3 level showed symptoms of premature senescence of the oldest leaves and yield reductions in both growing seasons. The contents of ascorbate and glutathione and the enzyme activities of ascorbate peroxidase and glutathione reductase were measured in symptomless flag leaves in weekly intervals before and after the beginning of anthesis. Leaf age had a significant effect on all antioxidants investigated. The O3 exposures of about 90 nl litre(-1) increased the activity of ascorbate peroxidase and the concentration of glutathione, but there were no pollutant effects on ascorbate content and glutathione reductase activity. Measurements of the antioxidant levels throughout one day showed no clear indications of diurnal changes in the antioxidative capacity in wheat flag leaves. The results are discussed in relation to the role of antioxidants in O3 detoxification.