Spells "Ouch" for Some Plants
You cant see it, touch it or taste it.
above the Earth, ozone is good. This invisible gas absorbs the sun's burning
rays and keeps them from reaching our skin.
near Earth's surface, ozone isn't good. It's the main ingredient in smog. And
it can damage our lungs and other tender tissues by a process known as
The sun is a good chemist. It likes to
rearrange the chemicals that our cars, trucks, factories and power plants spew
out after burning gasoline and other fossil fuels, such as coal and natural
gas. Ozone is one of the products the sun makes from the exhaust gases. When
these gases build up in the air, and the sun is bright and hot, ozone levels
that happens, you may hear about an OZONE ALERT on the radio or TV. People are
advised to stay indoorsespecially children and the very
humans arent the only living things that suffer from ozone pollution.
Plants have an even tougher time. They are more sensitive to ozone than people,
and they cant come indoors.
Agricultural Research Service scientists in Raleigh, North
Carolina, have been studying the effects of ozone on different crops for almost
30 years. Click here to see how.
guess why they do these experiments in Raleigh? Answer
damages plant leaves. Because the leaves make the plants food, damaged
leaves cant make as much. So the plant grows slower and produces less
foodlike peanuts or soybeansfor us.
Here are two peanut plants. Can you guess which one was
grown in air with high ozone? Answer
damages different crops in different ways. Click here for some examples of ozone
that belong to the grass familysorghum, corn and wheatusually
dont lose as much yield as crops that belong to the dicotssoybeans, peanuts and
-- By Judy
McBride, formerly Agricultural Research Service, Information