In Vitro Effects of Formaldehyde on Douglas Fir Pollen

in HortScience
Authors: A.M. Shirazi1 and P.S. Muir1
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  • 1 Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State Univ., Cordley 2082, Corvallis, OR 97331-2902

There is increasing interest in using methanol and other alcohol fuels as an alternative energy source in the United States and developing nations. However, methanol-fueled vehicles have higher direct emissions of formaldehyde (HCHO) than gasoline-fueled vehicles, which has led to concern about increases in atmospheric concentration of HCHO. Formaldehyde at concentrations of 300, 600, 900, and 1200 μM reduced germination of hydrated Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) pollen in vitro. HCHO concentrations and pH in media containing pollen decreased during the 25-h incubation, with decreases proportional to HCHO concentration. This effect was not seen with heat-killed pollen, which suggests a detoxification mechanism. Ion leakage (measured as electrical conductivity) of pollen increased within 20 h in all HCHO treatments compared to controls. Stress also was indicated by TTC staining, which also decreased after HCHO treatment compared to controls.

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