Reference: STP 14/5/5
Last update: 13/08/2003 14:32:33
The objectives are to:
Provide a comprehensive, critical review of the observed and potential effects of VOCs on plants;
Indicate the potential for using plants as bio-indicators of VOC pollution;
Identify a strategy for DETR to establish whether current and future VOC concentrations pose a potential long-term direct threat to plant health, and to the health of herbivores.
Recent measurements have shown that some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are metabolised by plants at levels close to those in urban air, and that there is some evidence of genotoxicity. Analytical techniques have also progressed to the point where the uptake and fate of VOCs in plants can be reliably measured. The published literature on the potential damage to vegetation from VOCs is fragmentary, and often refers to acute effects at high concentrations rather than to long-term effects of more realistic concentrations. By analogy with knowledge of the effects of inorganic pollutants (sulphur dioxide, ozone) on plants, acute effects are probably not good predictors of chronic effects of low concentrations.
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Natural Environment Research Council, CEH Directorate, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2LS
0131 445 4343
Cost to the Department: £12,220.00
Actual start date: 01 June 2001
Actual completion date: 31 December 2001
Potential effects of volatile organic pollutants on vegetation Critical review DEFRA New Horizon Research Programme
Author: J Neil Cape
Departmental Assessment Status: Project completed prior to the implementation of the Departmental publication scheme.