There are numerous forms of radiation, including gamma rays, which can hinder the seed germination, root growth and shoot growth of a plant, and ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from the sun, which helps to feed a plant after it has germinated and reached the surface of the soil. However, overexposure to UV-B radiation from the sun can negatively affect the process of photosynthesis in plants, thereby reducing the plant's size, rate of growth and overall quality.
UV-B radiation can also negatively impact a plant's ability to fight off diseases and can actually make them more susceptible to plant disease. This is due to the increased radiation impairing the cellular division, as well as impairing basic biological functions within the plants. This effect of UV-B radiation can especially be seen in ocean and freshwater plant life. Plants within bodies of water that are located too close to the surface can be exposed to more UV-B radiation from the sun than was naturally intended. Many of these effects can also be seen in places like Antarctica, where the breakdown of the ecosystem has been so obviously noted.
Gamma radiation can hinder the rate of germination, root growth, shoot growth and photosynthetic properties and processes. The larger does of gamma radiation, the more damaging the effects. Gamma radiation has also shown to be responsible for the introduction of free radicals into some plant species.