Oregon Field Guide episode features PSU research on plant emissions, air pollution
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications, Portland State University
Posted: March 5, 2012

Oregon Public Broadcasting's longrunning Oregon Field Guide featured scientists in PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in its episode "Trees and Pollution."

Biology graduate student Andrea Melnychenko studies variations in biogenic emissions of volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) from plants like bamboo, using newly remodeled facilities in PSU's Science Research and Teaching Center. These emissions from plant leaves can contribute to poor air quality. Melnychenko works with PSU biology faculty Todd Rosenstiel.

Linda George, professor and chair of Environmental Science and Management, worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation on a planting project along Interstate 205. She advised ODOT on the emissions of trees, and how that could contribute to higher, rather than lower, levels of air pollution.

Show description: Emerging research shows that if plants and trees are planted in certain locations, they can make air pollution worse. The plants emit isoprenes which combine with man-made pollutants to create ozone.

Original air date: March 1, 2012