SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

Photoinduced Toxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons to the Higher Plant L. G-3


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known to exhibit photoinduced toxicity to animals and microorganisms, especially in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Since higher plants readily assimilate PAHs from the environment, and since they cannot avoid UV radiation (a natural component of solar radiation), PAHs have the potential to be a potent phytotoxicant. We have begun to assess the photoinduced toxicity of two PAHs (anthracene and phenanthrene) to the higher plant Lemna gibba. In the presence of low-intensity visible light (60 μmol m-2 s-1, 400 nm to 700 nm), anthracene and phenanthrene were found to be essentially nontoxic. However, both compounds were highly toxic to Lemna in low levels of simulated solar radiation [visible light, 30 μmol m-2 s-1; UVA (320 nm to 400 nm), 4 μmol m-2 s-1; UVB (280 nm to 320 nm), 0.6 μmol m-2 s-1]. Furthermore, in the absence of plant tissue, anthracene and phenanthrene were chemically modified by simulated solar radiation. These photomodified PAHs exhibited toxicity in visible light and increased toxicity in simulated solar radiation.

Author Information

Huang, X-D
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Dixon, DG
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Greenberg, BM
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 209–216
DOI: 10.1520/STP19515S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5173-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1422-7