Impacts of elevated CO2 and/or O3 on leaf ultrastructure of aspen (Populus tremuloides) and birch (Betula papyrifera) in the aspen FACE experiment

Environ Pollut. 2001;115(3):437-46. doi: 10.1016/s0269-7491(01)00233-0.


Impacts of elevated atmospheric O3 and/or CO2 on three clones of aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) and birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) were studied to determine, whether or not elevated CO2 ameliorates O3-induced damage to leaf cells. The plants were exposed for 3 years at the Aspen FACE exposure site in Wisconsin (USA) prior to sampling for ultrastructural investigations on 19 June 1999. In the aspen clones, elevated CO2 increased chloroplast cover index, leaf and spongy mesophyll layer thickness, intercellular air space volume in mesophyll, amount of starch in chloroplasts and cytoplasmic lipids but decreased the number of plastoglobuli in chloroplasts. In contrast, elevated O3 decreased chloroplast cover index, starch content, and the proportion of cytoplasm and intercellular space in mesophyll, and increased the proportion of vacuoles, the amount of condensed vacuolar tannins and the number of plastoglobuli. Ozone also caused structural thylakoid injuries (dilation, distortion) and stromal condensation in chloroplasts, which was ameliorated by elevated CO2 by 5-66% in aspen clones and by 2-10% in birch. Birch ultrastructure was less affected by elevated CO2 or O3 stress compared to aspen. In the most O3-sensitive aspen clone, thinner leaves and cell walls, lower proportion of cell wall volume, and higher volume for vacuoles was found compared to more-tolerant clones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / pharmacology*
  • Betula / drug effects*
  • Betula / metabolism
  • Betula / ultrastructure
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Chloroplasts / drug effects
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Databases as Topic
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ecosystem
  • Forestry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure
  • Salicaceae / drug effects*
  • Salicaceae / metabolism
  • Salicaceae / ultrastructure
  • Vacuoles / drug effects
  • Vacuoles / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure


  • Air Pollutants
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ozone