Solving the mystery of how plants survive near Chernobyl

May 13, 2009
Scientists are reporting development of “self-propelled” oil droplets that run on chemical “fuel.” The development could serve as a blueprint for designing similar locomotion systems in artificial cells. Credit: The American Chemical Society

Twenty-two years after the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine — the worst in history — scientists are reporting insights into the mystery of how plants have managed to adapt and survive in the radioactive soil near Chernobyl. Their research is the first to probe how production of key proteins in plants changes in response to the radioactive environment, according to the report. It is scheduled for the June 5 issue of ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research.

Martin Hajduch and colleagues note in the new study that growing in the Chernobyl area following the April 26, 1986 disaster somehow adapted to the radioactive environment and thrived. But until now, nobody knew what biochemical changes in the plants accounted for this miracle and enabled plants to adapt.

The researchers found that soybean plant seeds exposed to radiation produced different amounts and types of than seeds from unexposed plants. The proteins protected the seeds from radio-contaminated environment. Interestingly, plants from contaminated fields produced one-third more of a protective protein called betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase — the same protein known to protect human blood from radiation damage.

More information: , “Proteomic Analysis of Mature Soybean Seeds from the Chernobyl Area Suggest Plant Adaptation to the Contaminated Environment”

Provided by American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: The origins of handedness in life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chernobyl: 20 years later

Apr 19, 2006

Chernobyl, the most significant accident in nuclear history, took place on 26 April 1986. Even 20 years later, the accident has left the world with many unanswered questions about its impact on human health, ...

Increase in cancer in Sweden can be traced to Chernobyl

May 30, 2007

The incidence of cancer in northern Sweden increased following the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in 1986. This was the finding of a much-debated study from Linköping University in Sweden from 2004.

Recommended for you

The origins of handedness in life

14 hours ago

Handedness is a complicated business. To simply say life is left-handed doesn't even begin to capture the blooming hierarchy of binary refinements it continues to evolve. Over the years there have been numerous ...

Driving cancer cells to suicide

Sep 30, 2014

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers report that a new class of chemical compounds makes cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs. They have also pinpointed the relevant target ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

el_gramador
not rated yet May 13, 2009
So the plants and biology in general expected a preventor molecule for radiation?
PPihkala
5 / 5 (1) May 13, 2009
Scientists are reporting development of self-propelled oil droplets that run on chemical fuel.

I wonder what is the relevance of this text beside picture A?