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Free Radic Res Commun. 1991;15(3):133-41.

Radical formation and accumulation in vivo, in desiccation tolerant and intolerant mosses.

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Department of Environmental Biology, University of Manchester, UK.


Water loss in a desiccation-sensitive moss resulted in destruction of chlorophyll, loss of carotenoids and increased lipid peroxidation, indicating the presence of damaging forms of activated oxygen. These effects were exaggerated when the plants were desiccated at high light intensities. During water-deprivation there was a build up of a free radical, detected in vivo, with a close correlation between molecular damage and radical accumulation. In contrast, in a desiccation-tolerant moss there was almost no indication of molecular (oxidative) damage. However a stable radical similar in type and concentration to that found in the desiccation-sensitive species accumulated, particularly under high irradiances. The stable radical appears to be one of the end-products of a process initiated by environmental stress, desiccation and high irradiance: its association with molecular damage depending on the degree to which the species is tolerant of desiccation. Identification of the radical in intact tissue from EPR and ENDOR studies, suggests that this is not a short-lived peroxy-radical but instead is relatively stable and carbon-centred.

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