Effects of chronic elevated ozone concentration on antioxidant capacity, photosynthesis and seed yield of 10 soybean cultivars

Plant Cell Environ. 2010 Sep;33(9):1569-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2010.02165.x. Epub 2010 Apr 22.


Crops losses to tropospheric ozone (O(3)) in the United States are estimated to cost $1-3 billion annually. This challenge is expected to increase as O(3) concentrations ([O(3)]) rise over the next half century. This study tested the hypothesis that there is cultivar variation in the antioxidant, photosynthetic and yield response of soybean to growth at elevated [O(3)]. Ten cultivars of soybean were grown at elevated [O(3)] from germination through maturity at the Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment facility in 2007 and six were grown in 2008. Photosynthetic gas exchange, leaf area index, chlorophyll content, fluorescence and antioxidant capacity were monitored during the growing seasons in order to determine if changes in these parameters could be used to predict the sensitivity of seed yield to elevated [O(3)]. Doubling background [O(3)] decreased soybean yields by 17%, but the variation in response among cultivars and years ranged from 8 to 37%. Chlorophyll content and photosynthetic parameters were positively correlated with seed yield, while antioxidant capacity was negatively correlated with photosynthesis and seed yield, suggesting a trade-off between antioxidant metabolism and carbon gain. Exposure response curves indicate that there has not been a significant improvement in soybean tolerance to [O(3)] in the past 30 years.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Chlorophyll / analysis
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Seeds / drug effects*
  • Soybeans / drug effects*
  • Soybeans / growth & development
  • Soybeans / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Chlorophyll
  • Ozone