, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 77-87

Tolerance of a field grown soybean cultivar to elevated ozone level is concurrent with higher leaflet ascorbic acid level, higher ascorbate-dehydroascorbate redox status, and long term photosynthetic productivity

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We examined the characteristics of ascorbic acid (ASC) level, dehydroascorbate (DHA) level, and the ASC–DHA redox status in the leaflets of two soybean cultivars grown in a field environment and exposed to elevated ozone (O3) levels. These two cultivars, one that preliminary evidence indicated to be O3-tolerant (cv Essex), and one that was indicated to be O3-sensitive (cv Forrest), were grown in open-top chambers during the summer of 1997. The plants were exposed daily to a controlled, moderately high O3 level (≈58 nl l−1 air) in the light, beginning at the seedling stage and continuing to bean maturity. Concurrently, control plants were exposed to carbon-filtered, ambient air containing a relatively low O3 level (≈24 nl l−1 air) during the same period. Elevated O3 did not affect biomass per plant, mature leaf area accretion, or bean yield per plant of cv Essex. In contrast, elevated O3 level decreased the biomass and bean yield per plant of cv Forrest by approximately 20%. Daily leaflet photosynthesis rate and stomatal conductance per unit area did not decrease in either cultivar as a result of prolonged O3 exposure. A 10% lower mature leaflet area in O3-treated cv Forrest plants contributed to an ultimate limitation in long-term photosynthetic productivity (vegetative and bean yield). Possible factors causing cv Essex to be more O3 tolerant than cv Forrest were: 1) mature leaflets of control and O3-treated cv Essex plants consistently maintained a higher daily ASC level than leaflets of cv Forrest plants, and 2) mature leaflets of cv Essex plants maintained a higher daily ASC–DHA redox status than leaflets of cv Forrest plants.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.