menu

Ozone Garden Plants React Visibly to Air Pollution

Ozone Garden Plants React Visibly to Air Pollution
Culture

Sensitive species turn an invisible problem into an obvious one

Ross Brooks
  • 22 july 2014

Plants already play an important role in fighting air pollution and making sure we all have enough air to breathe, but now they can also warn us about the quality of air in our surrounding area. Created by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), an ozone garden contains plants such as milkweed, snap bean, potato and cutleaf coneflowers, all of which will develop evenly spaced spots on their leaves when there is ozone in the air. The garden seems like the perfect way to turn an invisible problem into one that can’t be ignored.

Here’s how the pollution-sensitive plants work. Ozone in the air, which is typically caused when nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide emissions from combustion are exposed to sunlight. This turns portions of the leaves black, and although the plants don’t typically die, the damaged leaves do fall off before being replaced by new ones.

ozone-garden-3.jpg

Danica Lombardozzi, a postdoctoral researcher at NCAR, and Kateryna Lapina, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder, who both collaborated on the garden project, chose the plants for their sensitivity. The only downside is that the changes don’t happen right away, it all depends on how long ozone is in the air and how long the plants are exposed.

The problem with ozone is that it’s invisible, so people don’t really have any reason to care about how much of it there is in the air. That being said, it can have some serious effects on plants, which includes reduced yields of important agricultural crops like soybeans, wheat and cotton as well as slower growth of important tree species in different parts of the country.

ozone-garden-2.jpg

“Understanding the magnitude of this decrease is important for future food security in regions with high ozone concentrations,” says Lombardozzi. While the plants aren’t available to the public just yet, you can still get air quality updates from the website Ozone Aware.

National Center for Atmospheric Research

[h/t] Inhabitots, Community Radio for Northern Colorado

Images by NCAR and UCARSciEd

Culture
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Bonnie Knutson

Hospitality & Marketing

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.