The study of plant adaptation to oxygen deficiency in Saint Petersburg University
The first studies on plant anaerobiosis started at the Department of Plant Physiology at St. Petersburg University in the beginning of the XXth century, but interest in this subject became most intensive during the investigations of the ecological plant physiology group under the supervision of Prof. T. V. Chirkova. Their first step was focused on the mechanisms of transport of gases from the aerated aboveground part of the plant to the flooded root system. Further interest shifted towards clarifying the biochemistry of respiratory metabolism, pathways of reoxidation of the reduced cofactors, and protein and lipid metabolism of plants under anoxic conditions. The group’s studies have always distinguished the comparative approach, in which the changes taking place in plants differing in resistance to oxygen deficiency were analyzed. In many ways, this research was pioneering and was recognized throughout the world. For the first time the possibility of hydrogen peroxide formation in plants under total anoxia was demonstrated. The role of cell membranes in adaptation processes was revealed. Pioneering investigations distinguished the features of photosynthesis in an oxygen-free environment and the work of an antioxidant system under conditions of anoxia and post-anoxic oxidative effects. Now, the plant ecophysiology group of the Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry of St. Petersburg State University concentrates on the mechanisms of anaerobic signal transduction and reveals how plant hormones regulate adaptation to anoxic and post-anoxic stresses.
oxygen deficiency, post-anoxic stress, plant respiration, fermentation, protein and lipid metabolism, reactive oxygen species, antioxidants
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