Mikkelsen T N, Heide-Jørgensen H S. 1996. Acceleration of leaf senescence in Fagus sylvatica L. by low levels of tropospheric ozone demonstrated by leaf colour, chlorophyll fluorescence and chloroplast ultrastructure. Trees 10:145-156.

From April 1988 to October 1991 three-year-old seed propagated beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) trees were exposed in open-top chambers to four different levels of air pollution 1) charcoal filtered air, 2) ambient air, 3) ambient air plus 30 nl l-1 ozone during the summer, and 4) ambient air plus 30 nl l-1 ozone during the summer and 20 nl l-1 SO2 and NO2 during the winter. Leaf colour was studied in the autumns of 1989 and 1991 and a close relationship between ozone dose and premature senescence was found. A correlation also exists between the colour groups and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm). Ozone fumigation increases the size and speeds up the development of the plastoglobules. This is described using an index based on the volume of plastoglobules as a percentage of chloroplast volume. The index was significantly higher for ozone fumigated plants than for control plants during August to November 1989. According to all three methods it is concluded that low levels of ozone accelerate leaf senescence processes in F. sylvatica. There are indications that leaves of the first and the second flush react differently to the ozone treatment. Irrespective of the ozone treatment a special cell wall structure, probably a local suberization, is confined to the subsidiary cells in leaves of the first flush.

Keywords: Fagus sylvatica - open-top chamber - ozone - plastoglobuli - senescence.


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