Flux of singlet oxygen from leaves of phototoxic plants

M. R. Berenbaum, R. A. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detached leaves of Zanthoxylum americanum and Pastinaca sativa, plants known to produce phototoxins, generate singlet oxygen when illuminated by a xenon arc lamp that simulates sunlight. Other species tested did not produce detectable amounts of singlet oxygen. Calculations of the rate of production of singlet oxygen indicate a flux of up to 4×1012 molecules cm-1s-1. This level is sufficiently high to induce damage in the cells of organisms near the leaf surface. Photodynamic action may thus provide for plants an evolutionary advantage in the form of preemptive protection against predators without tissue loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1032
Number of pages3
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 1988


  • Pastinaca sativa
  • Phototoxicity
  • Zanthoxylum americanum
  • plant defense
  • singlet oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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