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The effect of UV-B radiation on FW, leaf and stem length, photosynthetic O2 evolution, levels of carbohydrates and nitrates, and extractable activities of some of the enzymes involved in C and N metabolism was evaluated in barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Express) seedlings during the 9 days following transfer to an UV-B enriched environment. The results show that under our experimental conditions UV-B radiation scarcely affects the photosynthetic competence of barley leaves, expressed as RuBP carboxylase (EC 4.1.1.39) activity, O2 evolution rate and chlorophyll content. Nevertheless, this treatment induced significant alterations of the enzyme activity of nitrate reductase (EC 1.6.6.1) and glutamine synthetase (EC 6.3.1.2), although only after a few days of treatment. The effects were not confined to the exposed tissue, but were detectable also at the root level. In fact, nitrate reductase decreased in response to UV-B in both leaf and root tissue, whereas glutamine synthetase was affected only in the root. In contrast, nitrate content was not influenced by the treatment, neither in root nor in leaf tissue, whilst leaf sucrose diminished in exposed plants only on the last day of treatment.