To assess the impact of ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation under laboratory conditions on lichens from different biomonitoring sites, thalli of the lichen Ramalina lacera were transplanted from a clean air site to nine different polluted sites in Israel. Our objective was to determine the probability of synergistic/antagonistic effects on physiological parameters by considering two stressors: chemical contamination and UV-B. Exposure to both airborne pollutants in the field and subsequent UV-B radiation in the laboratory which led to a severe disintegration of cell membranes, followed by electrolyte leakage, indicate the probability of a synergistic effect. The impairment of the potential quantum yield of electron transfer through photosystem II (PSII) of photosynthesis indicated by a significant decrease of the ratio Fv /Fm, further demonstrated the synergistic effect of both chemical contamination and UV-B radiation. Besides enlarged amounts of stress-ethylene in lichens at contaminated sites, the reduced levels of ethylene production upon UV-B radiation in the present study suggest the likelihood of an antagonistic effect of xenobiotic elements and UV-B radiation as a result of an impaired ethylene-producing system.
- Air pollution
- Lichen physiology
- Synergistic/antagonistic effects
- UV-B radiation