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Radiation effect on plants.

  1. Jul 7, 2010 #1

    does radiation have an effect on plants?

    thanks in advance, alf
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2010 #2


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    Radiation would damage plant cells the same as anything else, but I would guess the effect would be even less than on simple organisms like insects which can withstand 10-100x more radiation dose than humans can.
  4. Jul 7, 2010 #3
    Radiation does affect plants, however they are generally less sensitive to it. The majority of plants such as tree's for example, are dead or slowly dividing. These cells are therefore less likely to experience the negative effects of radiation. The fast growing parts of plants and tree's would be at the greatest risk of negative effects. Still I would guess that plants could survive radiation does of more than 10-100 times what would kill mammals.
  5. Jul 8, 2010 #4
    The proper answer to this question depends on the energy of the radiation we are discussing. Yes, gamma (high frequency) radiation will harm it just as gamma's will harm us; the degree of harm a plant will experience as compared to a person I do not know.

    I point out the energy of the radiation because if we are talking about lower energy (lower frequency) radiation in comparison to gamma, then the plant will undergo photosynthesis which is vital to it staying alive.

    The answer to your question nuclear-boy, requires a yes/no type answer, and in both scenarios I have just provided, and any other way you want to look at the question ('does radiation affect plants?'), all answers are "yes".
  6. Jul 8, 2010 #5


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    Hmm that is an interesting point. I wonder what the cutoff energy for photosynthesis is.
  7. Jul 9, 2010 #6
    Plants use light between 400-700 nm wavelength (or 1.7-3 eV), i.e. the same energy level that we see with our eyes. Gamma radiation is way shorter in wavelength (more energetic) with energies of keV to MeV.
  8. Jul 9, 2010 #7
    Thanks for finding that out!
  9. Jul 10, 2010 #8
    thanks for all of your help, i greatly appreciate it :)
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