Solving the mystery of how plants survive near Chernobyl
Twenty-two years after the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine — the worst in history — scientists are reporting insights into the mystery of how plants have managed to adapt and survive in the radioactive soil near Chernobyl. Their research is the first to probe how production of key proteins in plants changes in response to the radioactive environment, according to the report. It is scheduled for the June 5 issue of ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.
Hajduch and colleagues note in the new study that plants growing in the
Chernobyl area following the April 26, 1986 disaster somehow adapted to
the radioactive environment and thrived. But until now, nobody knew
what biochemical changes in the plants accounted for this miracle and
enabled plants to adapt.
The researchers found that soybean plant seeds exposed to radiation produced different amounts and types of protein than seeds from unexposed plants. The proteins protected the seeds from radio-contaminated environment. Interestingly, plants from contaminated fields produced one-third more of a protective protein called betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase — the same protein known to protect human blood from radiation damage.
News release courtesy of American Chemical Society
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