Plant Aging pp 269-275 | Cite as

Free Radicals in Stressed and Aging Plant Tissue Cultures

  • Erica E. Benson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 186)


Free radicals are highly reactive molecular species which possess an unpaired electron. Oxy free radicals are especially important in biological tissues, since metabolism is dependent on the transfer of electrons, oxidation/reduction reactions and molecular oxygen. Free radical activity is therefore a normal feature in both plant and animal cells (e.g. in electron transport, lipid metabolism, detoxification and phagocytosis). However, free radicals can also initiate harmful reactions in the cell and their activity is tightly controlled. Cells are equipped with antioxidants to ensure that any free radicals that “leak” from normal metabolic processes are removed. Unfortunately such control is challenged if tissues undergo pathological disease, severe stress and physical injury. Under these circumstances, reduced antioxidant status and metabolic impairment can soon lead to free radical attack of macro molecules (lipids, proteins and DNA). In the long term these events can lead to further metabolic disorder, necrosis and cell and tissue death.


Singlet Oxygen Plant Tissue Culture Plant Senescence Free Radical Damage Free Radical Activity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica E. Benson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture and HorticultureNottingham University School of AgricultureLoughborough, LeicsUK

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