Ozone-induced H < inf> 2 O < inf> 2 accumulation in field-grown aspen and birch is linked to foliar ultrastructure and peroxisomal activity

Document Type


Publication Date



• Saplings of three aspen (Populus tremuloides) genotypes and seedlings of paper birch (Betula papyrifera) were exposed to elevated ozone (1.5x ambient) and 560 p.p.m. CO2, singly and in combination, from 1998 at the Aspen-FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) site (Rhinelander, USA). • The plants were studied for H2O2 accumulation within the leaf mesophyll, number of peroxisomes, level of gene expression for catalase (Cat), and changes in ultrastructure. • In tolerant clones, ozone-elicited excess H2O2 production was restricted to the apoplast, without any ultrastructural injuries. This was associated with ozone-induced proliferation of peroxisomes and increased transcript levels of Cat. In sensitive plants, ozone-induced H2O 2 accumulation continued from the cell wall to the plasma membrane, cytosol and chloroplasts, particularly in older leaves. However, chloroplastic precipitation was absent in the presence of elevated CO2. In the most sensitive aspen clone, H2O2 accumulation was found in conjunction with chloroplast injuries, low number of peroxisomes and low cell wall volume, whereas in birch a simultaneous increase in cell wall thickness indicated defence activation. • Our results indicate that oxidative stress manifests as H2O2 effects on leaf ultrastructure in sensitive trees exposed to elevated ozone. However, CO 2 enrichment appears to alleviate chloroplastic oxidative stress.

Publication Title

New Phytologist