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Free Radic Res Commun. 1989;8(1):61-6.

Plants under drought-stress generate activated oxygen.

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Unit of Comparative Plant Ecology (NERC), Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Sheffield, UK.


Lysed chloroplasts prepared from droughted wheat plants generate O2- on illumination as detected by electron spin resonance spectroscopy, the amplitude of the signal increasing with the severity of water deprivation. Following a similar time-course as radical formation and chlorophyll destruction, there was a significant increase in the accumulation of iron in the droughted shoots to reach an estimated concentration in the cell sap of about 2.5 mM. The evidence suggests that superoxide generated as a result of impaired electron transport in the chloroplasts reacts with the high concentration of accumulating iron resulting in the formation of hydroxyl radical, the probable cause of the primary pathologies observed in droughted plants.

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