Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

UV Effects on Living Organisms

  • Philipp Weihs
  • Alois W. Schmalwieser
  • Günther Schauberger
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_454

Definition of the Subject

Since the energy of an electromagnetic photon increases with decreasing wavelength, the biological effectiveness – defined as the capacity of radiation to produce a specific biological effect – also increases with decreasing wavelength. The largest biological effects are therefore generated in the shortest wavelength range (280–400 nm) of the incident solar radiation spectrum, which is referred to as ultraviolet (UV) radiation . Living organisms (i.e., living systems such as animals, plants, and microorganisms) are influenced by solar radiation and especially also by UV radiation. Three important aspects have to be taken into account in an investigation regarding the UV impact on living organisms: First, the damage potential of UV has to be studied; second, the faculty of living organisms to protect themselves and to adapt has to be examined; and third, the environment and its impact on the UV radiation field has to be taken into account.



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp Weihs
    • 1
  • Alois W. Schmalwieser
    • 2
  • Günther Schauberger
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Natural Resources and Applied Life SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.WG Environmental HealthUniversity of Veterinary MedicineViennaAustria