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Ozone depletes oil seed rape productivity

High ozone conditions cause a 30% decrease in yield and an increase in the concentration of a group of toxic compounds within oilseed rape plants. Rape seed oil is also known as canola oil.

The research, to be presented by Maarten De Bock of the University of Antwerp, showed changes in the concentration of glucosinolates, a family of compounds involved in plant defences against herbivores, in oilseed rape plants. Such changes could influence crop resistance to insect pests, or the palatability of food crops. As oilseed rape is important as a feed crop, increased levels of glucosinolates may cause problems due to the large quantities of fodder consumed by farm animals.

For human consumption, however, an increase in glucosinolates, in cabbage plants for example, would be favourable due to their anticarcinogenic properties. Interaction of these factors and their impact on the food web in changing climates will be investigated further throughout the course of this ongoing project.

by S. C.
29 june 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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