Journal of Radiation Research and Radiation Processing ›› 2020, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (1): 50-56.doi: 10.11889/j.1000-3436.2020.rrj.38.010601

• RADIATION PROTECTION • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DNA damages in Tillandsia species caused by the radioactive gas radon

ZHENG Guiling1(),LI Peng1,ZHOU Feng2()   

  1. 1. School of Resources and Environment, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China
    2. School of Food Science, Nanjing Xiaozhuang University, Nanjing 211171, China
  • Received:2019-06-24 Revised:2019-09-24 Accepted:2019-09-24 Online:2020-02-20 Published:2020-02-25
  • Contact: ZHOU Feng;
  • About author:ZHENG Guiling (female) was born in November 1980, and obtained her doctoral degree from Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2007,majoring in environmental biology. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41475132);the Key Project of Natural Science Research in Colleges and Universities of Jiangsu Province(19KJA310009);the Foundation of "Qing Lan Project" in Colleges and Universities of Jiangsu Province (Su Jiaoshi〔2018〕12)


The damage in plant DNA induced by the naturally occurring radioactive gas radon were investigated here. For this, we chosed two common indicator plants, Tillandsiabrachycaulos and Tillandsia usneoides, as our model system. Leaf DNA damage was tested by the single cell gel electrophoresis method after a 72 h exposure of plants to radon at different concentrations. Increase in radon concentration led to a significant increase (p<0.05) in the comet DNA index (comet length, tail length, tail DNA, tail moment, and Olive tail moment), suggesting that Tillandsia suffered from radiation damage at the DNA level. However, DNA damage in T. brachycaulos with manually removed trichomes upon radon exposure at a concentration of 2 560 Bq/m3 was comparable to that in T. brachycaulos (with trichomes) exposed to 4 525 Bq/m3 of radon. This indicates that foliar trichomes present in these plants most likely act as a shield against pollutants, therefore alleviating radon-induced DNA damage.

Key words: Air plant, Comet assay, DNA damage, Radon

CLC Number: 

  • TL71