Current issue: 56(4)
The effects of realistically elevated O3 and CO2 concentrations on the needle ultrastructure and photosynthesis of ca. 20-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) saplings were studied during one growth period in open-top field chambers situated on a natural pine heath at Mekrijärvi, in eastern Finland. The experiment included six different treatments: chamberless control, filtered air, ambient air and elevated O3, CO2 and O3 + CO2. Significant increases in the size of chloroplast and starch grains were recorded in the current-year needles of the saplings exposed to elevated CO2 These responses were especially clear in the saplings exposed to elevated O3 + CO2 concentrations. These treatments also delayed the winter hardening process in cells. In the shoots treated with O3, CO2 and combined O3 + CO2 the Pmax was decreased on average by 50% (ambient CO2) and 40% (700 ppm CO2). Photosynthetic efficiency was decreased by 60% in all the treated shoots measured under ambient condition and by 30% in the CO2 and O3 + CO2 treated shoots under 700 ppm. The effect of all the treatments on photosynthesis was depressive which was probably related to evident accumulation of starch in the chloroplasts of the pines treated with CO2 and combined O3 + CO2. But in O3 treated pines, which did not accumulate starch in comparison to pines subjected to ambient air conditions, some injuries may be already present in the photosynthetic machinery.
The ultrastructure of Hypogymnia physodes (L.) Nyl. and Alectoria capillaris (Bryoria capillaris (Ach.) Brodo & D. Hawksw.) grown or transplanted near a fertilizer plant and a pulp mill was compared to normal ultrastructure of these lichen species. The ultrastructural changes observed were highly similar in the symbionts of both species and near both the factories although the emissions are different. In the lichens grown near the factories the number of algae had clearly increased. The appearance of the chloroplasts was roundish compared to controls. The pyrenoglobuli and cytoplasmic storage bodies were smaller than normally and the number of polyphosphate bodies had increased. Also, in mycobionts storage droplets were very small or absent and many vacuoles and dark inclusions appeared to hyphae in contrast to controls. In transplanted lichen there existed mainly the same ultrastructural changes as in the lichen grown near factories. Near the fertilizer plant the damage was, however, more severe because all the lichens died during 6–7 months after transplantation. Near the pulp mill part of the lichens survived and seemed to adapt to air pollution.