Biology of UV-B Effects

The evolution of terrestrial plant life was probably enabled by the development of a stratospheric ozone layer, which absorbes completely all of the short and harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV-C 100 - 280 nm) and to some extent the short wave part of UV-B radiation (280 - 315 nm) of the solar spectrum reaching the earth’s surface.

Because UV-B radiation can cause structural changes in nucleic acids, proteins, and other macromolecules of all organisms, plants have developed structural, chemical and biochemical mechanisms to minimize detrimental impacts of UV and efficiently repair UV-induced cellular damages. Research of EUS, in cooperation with the Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology (BIOP), focuses on the biochemical mechanisms and chemical structures of UV-screening pigments of plants. Particulary, we analyze UV-B dose-dependent accumulation patterns of phenolic compounds (e.g. flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives) in combination with other environmental constraints like temperature, air pollution (ozone) and water shortage/drought.