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Progress in Understanding the Sources, Deposition and Above-ground Fate of Trichloroacetic Acid (11 pp)



Aim and Scope This paper is a companion to the recent review paper by Laturnus et al. (2005) on TCA in soils, presenting a complementary review of knowledge gaps in the sources and fate of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) in plants.

Main Features

The review considers the various sources of TCA precursors, including the question of how much atmospheric TCA comes from naturally-produced precursors, and addresses the implications of climate change on atmospheric TCA formation. Models of the conversion of precursors to TCA in the atmosphere are critically compared with field measurements of concentrations, deposition and budgets; data on the quantitative relationships between gas-phase TCA, particulate TCA, and TCA dissolved in rain and clouds are reviewed. Methods for quantifying TCA are summarised, along with a description of what the different techniques measure, and how results can be compared. A distinction is made between 'extractable' TCA and 'total' TCA in vegetation. Evidence for the various pathways by which TCA enters plants is given, including the in situ production of TCA in leaves. This leads to a better understanding of how plant tissue concentrations depend on uptake, production and removal rates. Finally, knowledge of the toxic effects of TCA on plants and TCA metabolism in plant tissues is summarised.

Results and Discussion

The discussion highlights knowledge gaps, and is intended to aid the reader in interpreting previously published results through identifying where different ways of expressing data have been used, and the consequent conclusions that can be drawn.


and Further Research Directions Recommendations are given for future research directions – in identifying precursor sources, quantifying heterogeneous atmospheric processes, recognising and quantifying uptake pathways, and elucidating the biochemical mechanisms involved in sequestering and degrading TCA inside leaves.

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Correspondence to Neil Cape, Sandor Forczek, Gabor Gullner, Gilda Mena-Benitez, Peter Schröder or Miroslav Matucha.

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Cape, N., Forczek, S., Gullner, G. et al. Progress in Understanding the Sources, Deposition and Above-ground Fate of Trichloroacetic Acid (11 pp). Env Sci Poll Res Int 13, 276–286 (2006).

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  • TCA in plants
  • TCA precursors
  • transport processes
  • antioxidant enzymes
  • natural production
  • detoxification
  • atmospheric TCA