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Ozone sensitivity of beans varies through development cycle

WED scientists recently completed a study to determine whether the ozone sensitivity of the bush bean plant changes as the plant develops. Growing a popular variety of bush beans in open-topped field chambers, the researchers imposed four different treatments to the plants. They found that ozone exposures during the beansí vegetative stages caused little injury to foliage and had only a small impact on growth and yield. However, increased ozone exposures during pod development significantly increased foliar injury and decreased growth and yield. The scientists suggest that the bean plantsí greater sensitivity to ozone during their pod-filling and maturation stages is the consequence of reduced energy levels available for the normal processes of repair. The results indicate that ozone standards set to protect vegetation must consider that sensitivity changes with plant development. (Contact D.T. Tingey, 541-754-4621; tingey.dave@epa.gov)

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