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Seasonal Variation of Leaf Dust Accumulation and Pigment Content in Plant Species Exposed to Urban Particulates Pollution

Authors:
  • Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur

Abstract and Figures

To assess the dust interception efficiency of some selected tree species and impact of dust deposition on chlorophyll and ascorbic acid content of leaves the present study was undertaken. The plant species selected for the study were Ficus religiosa, Ficus benghalensis, Mangifera indica, Dalbergia sissoo, Psidium guajava, and Dendrocalamus strictus. It was found that all species have maximum dust deposition in the winter season followed by summer and rainy seasons. Chlorophyll content decreased and ascorbic acid content increased with the increase of dust deposition. There was significant negative and positive correlation between dust deposition and chlorophyll and ascorbic acid content, respectively. Maximum dust interception was done by Dalbergia sisso and least by Dendrocalamus strictus. Thus plants can be used to intercept dust particles which are of potential health hazards to humans.
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865
To assess the dust interception effi ciency of some selected
tree species and impact of dust deposition on chlorophyll
and ascorbic acid content of leaves the present study was
undertaken.  e plant species selected for the study were Ficus
religiosa, Ficus benghalensis, Mangifera indica, Dalbergia sissoo,
Psidium guajava, and Dendrocalamus strictus. It was found that
all species have maximum dust deposition in the winter season
followed by summer and rainy seasons. Chlorophyll content
decreased and ascorbic acid content increased with the increase
of dust deposition.  ere was signifi cant negative and positive
correlation between dust deposition and chlorophyll and
ascorbic acid content, respectively. Maximum dust interception
was done by Dalbergia sisso and least by Dendrocalamus strictus.
us plants can be used to intercept dust particles which are of
potential health hazards to humans.
Seasonal Variation of Leaf Dust Accumulation and Pigment Content in Plant Species
Exposed to Urban Particulates Pollution
Santosh Kumar Prajapati and B. D. Tripathi* Banaras Hindu University
P
 matter (PM) has been widely studied in recent years
and the United Nations estimated that over 600 million people
in urban areas worldwide were exposed to dangerous levels of traffi c-
generated air pollutants (Cacciola et al., 2002). Atmospheric PM
with aerodynamic diameter <10 μm (PM
10
) or <2.5 μm (PM
2.5
) are
of considerable concern for public health (NEPC, 1998; Schwartzet
al., 1996; Beckett et al., 1998; Borja-Aburto et al., 1998). Vehicle-
derived particulates were monitored using magnetic properties of leaf
dust (the magnetic minerals derived from vehicular combustion and
street trams which are mainly maghemite and metallic iron and get
deposited on plant leaves, imparting magnetic character to leaves) and
it has been established that they are particularly dangerous to human
health (Prajapati et al., 2006). Indian cities are facing serious problems
of airborne particulate matter (Agarwal et al., 1999). Agricultural
activities and vehicular traffi c may generate local dust concentrations
close to the source that exceed environmental guideline values (Leys et
al., 1998; Manins et al., 2001).  e deposition of gaseous pollutants
and particulate matter and their interception are greater in woodlands
than in shorter vegetation (Fowler et al., 1989; Bunzl et al., 1989). It
has been established that leaves and exposed parts of a plant generally
act as persistent absorbers in a polluted environment (Samal and
Santra, 2002). Presence of trees in the urban environment can thus
improve air quality through enhancing the uptake of gases and
particles (McPherson et al., 1994; Beckett et al., 1998, 2000; Freer-
Smith et al., 2005) near roadways (Smith 1971) and in agricultural
situations (Raupach et al., 2001). Trees act as a sink for air pollutants
and thus reduce their concentration in the air. Dust interception
capacity of plants depends on their surface geometry, phyllotaxy,
and leaf external characteristics such as hairs, cuticle etc., height, and
canopy of trees. Removal of pollutants by plants from air is by three
means, namely absorption by the leaves, deposition of particulates and
aerosols over leaf surfaces, and fallout of particulates on the leeward
side of the vegetation because of the slowing of the air movement
(Tewari, 1994; Rawat and Banerjee, 1996). Leaf petioles are more
effi cient particulate impactors than either twigs (stems) or leaf lamina
(Ingold, 1971). Green belts also reduce noise pollution (Pal et al.,
2000b; Fang and Ling, 2005; Martínez-Sala et al., 2006).
e direct physical eff ects of mineral dusts on vegetation became
apparent only at relatively high surface loads (e.g., >7 g m
2
) (Farmer,
1993) as compared with the chemical eff ects of reactive materials such
as cement dust which may become evident at 2 g m
2
(Grantz et al.,
2003). Air pollutants damage plants leaves, impair plant growth, and
Pollution Ecology Research Lab., Dep. of Botany, Banaras Hindu Univ., Varanasi,
221005, India.
Copyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science
Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights
reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including pho-
tocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in J. Environ. Qual. 37:865–870 (2008).
doi:10.2134/jeq2006.0511
Received 23 Nov. 2006.
*Corresponding author (sntshprjpt@redi mail.com).
© ASA, CSSA, SSSA
677 S. Segoe Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA
TECHNICAL REPORTS: PLANT AND ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS
866 Journal of Environmental Quality • Volume 37 • May–June 2008
limit primary productivity according to the sensitiveness of the
plants to pollutants (Ulrich, 1984).  e most noticeable damage
occurs in the leaves. Limestone and cement dusts, with pH values
of 9 or higher, may cause direct injury to leaf tissues (Vardaka et al.,
1995) or indirect injury through alteration of soil pH (Hope et al.,
1991; Auerbach et al., 1997). Damages caused by air pollutants to
plants include chlorosis, necrosis, and epinasty (Katiyar and Dubey,
2000). Air particulates aff ect the overall growth and development
of plants according to their physical and chemical nature (Gupta
and Ghouse, 1987; Pandey et al., 1999), and morphology and
anatomy of the leaves are altered (Gupta and Mishra, 1994; Trivedi
and Singh, 1995; Somashekar et al., 1999; Singh and Sthapak,
1999; Farooq et al., 2000; Pal et al., 2000a; Shrivastava and Joshi,
2002; Garg et al., 2000). Surface dust deposits may alter the opti-
cal properties of leaves, particularly the surface refl ectance in the
visible and short wave infrared radiation range (Eller, 1977; Hope
et al., 1991; Keller and Lamprecht, 1995). In response to these
adverse eff ects various biochemical changes also occur such as
decreased chlorophyll content and increased ascorbic acid content
(ascorbic acid is an antioxidant and thus scavenges the oxidants
of leaves) (Balsberg-Pahlsson, 1989; Pandey and Sinha, 1991;
Krishnamurthy et al., 1994; Senapati and Misra, 1996; Joshi et
al., 1997; Pandey et al., 1999; Mandal and Mukherji, 2000; Garty
et al., 2001; Mashitha and Pise, 2001; Gavali et al., 2002).  ese
responses ultimately accelerate the process of senescence (Lee et al.,
1981; Kohert et al., 1986).
e present work was planned to assess dust deposition on
leaves of some selected plants growing along the side of a city
road having high traffi c density, to observe the variation in
dust deposition on leaves with respect to species and seasons
and observe seasonal variation in leaf pigments, i.e., “total
chlorophyll” and “ascorbic acid” in the plant species.
Experimental
Study Area
Varanasi is a holy city and also one of the oldest cities in
the country “(82°15 E to 83°30 and 24°35 to 25°30 N,
India).  e city has more than one million people and thus
a sizeable volume of traffi c exists.  e study site for sampling
dust and leaves was selected near the center of the city on an
important city road with high traffi c density.
Sampling of Dust and Leaves
is study was conducted during 2005–2006 in three seasons,
i.e., winter (December), summer (May), and rainy (August). Six
species of roadside plants growing on both sides of the road were
selected. A total of six plants, with one individual from each spe-
cies, were taken into account.  ese plants were common and thus
selected for the study.  e selected plant species and their charac-
teristics, including leaf characteristics, are given in Table 1. From
each plant species nine young leaves were selected for the study
of diff erent parameters.  e upper surface of all these leaves was
cleaned using a fi ne brush and leaves marked for identifi cation. All
the leaves were left for 24 h to allow dust to accumulate on their
surface. After 24 h the surface of all these previously selected leaves
were cleaned using a fi ne brush and the dust was collected on pre-
weighed tracing paper with utmost care. After this leaves were cut
from the petiole, kept in an icebox, and brought to the laboratory
for determination of chlorophyll and ascorbic acid content.  e
individual leaf area (m
2
) was calculated by tracing out the leaves
on graph paper.  e samples were weighed using an electronic
balance and the amount of dust was calculated using the equation
W = (w2 – w1)/a, where W is dust content (g m
2
), w1 is initial
weight of tracing paper, w2 is fi nal weight of tracing paper with
dust, and a is total area of the leaf (m
2
).
Biochemical Analysis
Photosynthetic Pigments
A 0.5 g fresh leaf sample was crushed in 0.025 L 80% ac-
etone (acetone/water, 4:1 v/v). Tightly plugged fl asks were re-
frigerated for 24 h. Finally, volume was maintained at 0.040 L
by 80% acetone and a pinch of MgCO
3
to buff er the extracting
medium. Extraction was performed in the dark to avoid pho-
tooxidation of pigments. Extract was fi ltered and centrifuged at
314.1 rads
−1
for 15 min. Optical densities of the solution were
measured at 645 and 663 nm wavelengths. Pigment content
was computed by the following formulae given by Maclachlan
and Zalic (1963) for chlorophyll ‘a’ and ‘b’.
663 645
12.3 0.86
Chl a = 100
1000
DDV
W
645 663
19.3
Chl b = 100
1000
DDV
W
3.6
Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid content of leaf sample was determined with
the help of a spectrophotometer. 5 g of fresh leaf sample was
homogenized in 0.020 L extracting solution, prepared by dis-
solving 5 g oxalic acid and 0.75 g sodium salt of EDTA in
0.1 L distilled water.  e homogenized leaf sample was cen-
trifuged for 15 min at 628.2 rads
1
. 0.001 L homogenate was
mixed thoroughly with 0.005 L Dichlorophenol indophenol
Table 1. Characteristics of selected plants at study site with their leaf characteristics.
Plant species Family Habit Leaf shape Phyllotaxy Plant height approx.
m
Ficus religiosa Moraceae Tree Caudate Alternate 20
Ficus benghalensis Moraceae Tree Ovate to elliptic Alternate 17
Mangifera indica Anacardiaceae Tree Lanceolate to oblong Alternate 10
Dalbergia sissoo Papilionaceae Tree Pinnately compound, acuminate lea ets Alternate 15
Psidium guajava Myrataceae Tree Short-petioled, oval or oblong-elliptic Opposite 4
Dendrocalam-us strictus Poaceae Tree Lanceolate Alternate 8
Prajapati & Tripathi: Leaf Dust Accumulation & Pigment Content in Plants Exposed to Urban Particulates 867
(DCPIP) (0.02 g L
1
) with constant shaking. Optical density
of the pink colored solution was measured at 520 nm (E
s
). For
this reason, one drop of 1% ascorbic acid solution was added
to bleach the pink color completely.  en optical density of
the turbid solution (E
t
) was measured at the same wavelength.
A calibration curve was plotted using ascorbic acid solution of
varying strength (0. 01–0.05 g L
1
) Ascorbic acid content was
calculated by the formula given by Keller and Schwager (1977).
()
0st
1
Ascorbic acid (mg g fresh weight) = 100
100
EEEV
W
−−
where, E
o
, E
s
, and E
t
are optical densities of blank sample,
plant sample, and sample with ascorbic acid, respectively, V =
volume of extract, and W = weight of the leaf sample (g).
Results
Dust Fall
e seasonal variation in dust accumulation on leaves of
diff erent plants under study is presented in Fig. 1. It is evident
from the fi gure that all plants showed higher dust deposit in
winter followed by summer and lowest in rainy season. It is also
clear that the seasonal variation in dust deposition is also prom-
inent. It shows Dalbergia sisso to have maximum and Dendro-
calamus strictus to have minimum dust accumulation.  e trend
of dust deposition among the species was D. sisso > M. indica >
P. guajava > F. benghalensis > F. religiosa > D. strictus.
Pigment Content
e seasonal variations in leaf pigment content of diff er-
ent plant species under study are presented in Fig. 2–7. It is
evident from the fi gures that the total chlorophyll content in
all the plant species was maximum in the rainy season fol-
lowed by summer and winter seasons. It is clear that there is
signifi cant diff erence in chlorophyll content between rainy
and summer season.  e study also clearly shows that there is
an increase in ascorbic acid content in leaves with a decrease
in chlorophyll content.  e concentration of ascorbic acid in
plant species were maximum in winter followed by summer
and rainy seasons. ANOVA (signifi cant at P < 0.01) showed
that there is a signifi cant variation in pigment content among
plant species and between seasons for both chlorophyll and
ascorbic acid.
Fig. 1. Dust accumulation per day in di erent plants under study
(g m
2
leaf area).
Fig. 2. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Ficus religiosa
(chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
Fig. 3. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Ficus
benghalensis (chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
Fig. 4. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Mangifera indica
(chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
868 Journal of Environmental Quality • Volume 37 • May–June 2008
e study showed changes in the levels of pigment (total chlo-
rophyll and ascorbic acid) content in the plants exposed to at-
mospheric dust fall. Chlorophyll content decreased and ascorbic
acid content increased with increased dust deposition on leaves.
e Pearson correlation coeffi cient values of dust deposition with
total chlorophyll content (r1) and with ascorbic acid content
(r2) in all the six plant species are presented in Table 2.  e table
clearly shows highly signifi cant negative correlations between
dust load and chlorophyll content and highly signifi cant positive
correlations between dust load and ascorbic acid content.
Discussion
Dust Fall
e present study shows that there is signifi cant variation in
dust accumulation in diff erent plants and in diff erent seasons.
Dust interception and its accumulation in diff erent plant species
depends on various factors, such as leaf shape and size, orienta-
tion, texture, presence/absence of hairs, length of petioles etc.,
weather conditions and direction and speed of wind and anthro-
pogenic activities. Higher dust accumulation in Dalbergia sissoo
may be due to rough leaf surface and small petioles that reduce
movement of leaves in wind, while in the case of Mangifera in-
dica and Psidium guajava it may be due to their waxy coating on
leaves with slightly folded margin and rough surface with slightly
folded margin, respectively. Lower dust accumulation in F. religio-
sa may be due to long petioles that help the leaves to fl utter dur-
ing wind, and the vertical position of the leaves which prevents
dust retention. Lower dust accumulation for D. strictus may be
due to the thin lamina of their leaves and vertical position of the
leaf.  e infl uence of leaf characteristics on dust accumulation
have also been studied (Vora and Bhatnagar, 1986; Somashekar
et al., 1999; Garg et al., 2000).  e high dust accumulation in
the winter season may be due to wet surfaces of leaves which
help in capturing dust, with a gentle breeze and foggy condition
preventing particulate dispersion. In the rainy season the least
dust accumulation is reported because of washing of leaves and
settling of particulates due to rain. Despite a high concentration
of dust in summer, high wind speed may be the reason for the
relatively lower dust accumulation in the summer than in winter.
Pigment Content
Overall growth and development of plants are functions of
various environmental factors such as air, water, and soil (Katiyar
and Dubey, 2000).  e variation in leaf pigment (chlorophyll and
ascorbic acid) content in plants is because of these factors. Dust
particles might be the cause of inhibition of chlorophyll synthesis
since it has various metals and polycyclic hydrocarbons, thus inhib-
iting the enzyme necessary for synthesizing chlorophyll particles.
Dust deposition aff ects the light available for photosynthesis and
blocks the stomatal pore for diff usion of air and thus put stress
on plant metabolism (Eller, 1977; Hope et al., 1991; Keller and
Table 2. Correlation of dust load with total chlorophyll content (r1)
and with ascorbic acid content (r2) in di erent plant species.
Plant species Chlorophyll (r1) Ascorbic acid (r2)
Ficus religiosa −0.98749 0.995567
Ficus benghalensis −0.99785 0.9981
Mangifera indica −0.76618 0.976322
Dalbergia sissoo −0.93346 0.941455
Psidium guajava −0.99235 0.99753
Dendrocalamus strictus −0.98579 0.950662
Fig. 5. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Dalbergia sisso
(chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
Fig. 6. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Psidium guajava
(chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
Fig. 7. Seasonal variation in leaf pigment content of Dendrocalamus
strictus (chlorophyll and ascorbic acid).
Prajapati & Tripathi: Leaf Dust Accumulation & Pigment Content in Plants Exposed to Urban Particulates 869
Lamprecht, 1995; Anthony, 2001). It is evident from the pres-
ent investigation that both chlorophyll and ascorbic acid content
showed diff erent responses to dust. Decrease in total chlorophyll
content in the leaves may be due to the alkaline condition created
by dissolution of chemicals present in the dust particulates in cell
sap which is responsible for chlorophyll degradation.  e ascorbic
acid content of leaves increases to cope with these stresses since it
retards leaf senescence (Garg and Kapoor, 1972). Total chlorophyll
content of polluted leaves is lower than that of control leaves and
is reported by several researchers (Somashekar et al., 1999; Mandal
and Mukherji, 2000; Samal and Santra, 2002).
Conclusions
e dust interception capacity of diff erent leaves depends on
leaf structure, phyllotaxy, presence/absence of hairs, presence of
wax on leaf surface, size of petioles, and canopy structure. Plants
with a waxy coating, rough leaf surfaces, and short petioles tend to
accumulate more dust than plants with long petioles and smoother
leaf surfaces. Dust particles aff ect leaf biochemical parameters,
bringing about some morphological symptoms.  e extent of such
eff ects depends on plant tolerance toward dust particles and on the
chemical nature of the dust. Decline in pigments may be because
of a drop in pigment synthesis due to the shading eff ect of dust,
the alkaline condition caused by dissolution of dust particles in cell
sap that may lead to pigment degradation (due to photo bleach-
ing), and/or the inhibition of enzymes essential for biosynthesis of
pigments. All these changes exerts stress on plant physiology.
Acknowledgments
e authors are thankful to Council of Scientifi c and
Industrial Research, New Delhi for fi nancial assistance.
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... Changes in environmental quality, to some extent, can be monitored by bioindicators, which exhibit in different ways the disturbances caused by pollutants (Carneiro and Takayanagui 2009). In the micro-region of Brumado, two fruit crops economically relevant have been described by several authors as bioindicator species: Psidium cattleianum Sabine, Myrtaceae (Klumpp et al. 1998;Moraes et al. 2002) and Mangifera indica L., Anarcadiaceae (Moraes et al. 2002;Klumpp et al. 2003;Prajapati and Tripathi 2008;Priyanka and Dibyendu 2009;Mondal et al. 2011;Pathak and Pancholi 2014). In turn, Lolium multiflorum Lam., Poaceae, is a forage crop (Pereira et al. 2008) also mentioned as a bioindicator species (Oliva and Figueiredo 2005;Sandrin et al. 2008). ...
... L. multiflorum, in turn, is also an important bioindicator (Sandrin et al. 2008), besides being an alternative forage for feeding cattle during the drought (Alvim 2000. Finally, M. indica L, besides being a bioindicator referenced by several authors (Moraes et al. 2002;Klumpp et al. 2003;Prajapati and Tripathi 2008;Mondal et al 2011;Pathak and Pancholi 2014), produces an exportable fruit, which is one of the main economic references in the microregion of Brumado. The experiments were started in October 2015 and lasted variable times, depending on the bioindicator. ...
... The species were evaluated in summer (February and March) and winter (from July to September), assuming that seasonal variations in temperature, humidity and radiation may influence atmospheric concentrations of pollutants, such as NO x and SO 2 (Moraes et al. 2002;Prajapati and Tripathi 2008;Sandrin et al. 2008;Esposito et al. 2009;Bulbovas et al. 2015;Anoob et al. 2017;Bell et al. 2017;Pina et al. 2017). ...
... Reduction in Chl a and total chlorophyll content in A. aspera, A. indica, and P. hysterophorus at 20 DAT and T. portulacastrum at 40 DAT grown at the polluted site could be ascribed to the solubilization of fine dust particles containing various kinds of metal and hydrocarbons which create the alkaline condition and subsequently cause chlorophyll denaturation. Such observations of decline in chlorophyll content in response to various types of dust have been reported by many workers (Prajapati and Tripathi 2008;Shah et al. 2018;Singh et al. 2021). The present study showed that site-wise variation in Chl a and total chlorophyll was lower at 40 DAT as compared to 20 DAT in all the studied species (except T. portulacastrum). ...
... An increase in foliar ascorbic content demonstrates the activation of defense mechanisms of plants to withstand the stress caused by the particles from vehicular emission and road dust. Similar results have been reported in several other studies also (Gupta et al. 2016;Prajapati and Tripathi 2008;Hariram et al. 2018). The nonsignificant changes in the case of other plant species could be due to the restrained entry of dust particles as a result of low stomatal conductivity. ...
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... The persistence of particles is also dependent on weather conditions. Rainwater or wind may remove these particles 21 . Wet surfaces increase deposition potential, notwithstanding that rain may partly carry away the deposited dust 22 . ...
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In this study, we observed the effect of the application of soil dust enriched with risk elements (Cd, Pb, As and Zn) to leaf surfaces of lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) while it was grown under hydroponic conditions. This study aimed to determine how low soil dust particulate matter (PM) doses affected the activity of or damaged the photosynthetic apparatus and how the uptake of risk elements was associated with both epigenetic changes (5-methylcytosine content, i.e., 5mC) and stress metabolism. During the study, we obtained many results pertaining to risk element contents and biochemical (total phenolic content (TPC), malondialdehyde (MDA) content and the amount of free amino acids (AAs)) and physiological (photosynthesis parameters: net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, intercellular CO2 concentration, stomatal conductance, instantaneous water-use efficiency, maximum quantum yield of PSII, chlorophyll and carotenoid contents, and leaf water potential (WP)) plant features. The results showed an increase in MDA and 5mC. However, the transpiration rate, WP and free AAs decreased. In conclusion, contamination by very low doses of soil dust PM had no direct or significant effect on plant fitness, as shown by the TPC and 5mC content, which indicates that plants can overcome the oxidative stress caused by the accumulation of risk elements. From the above, we propose the use of epigenetic changes as biomarkers of potential changes in the activation of plant metabolism under stress caused by environmental pollution.
... In addition, the particular microstructure and secretions of plants can also absorb airborne particles (Kończak et al., 2020;Li et al., 2021). Prajapati and Tripathi (2008) reported that the dust capture capacity of plants was related to leaf wettability, leaf area, and leaf surface characteristics. The grooves, villi, and stomata of leaves can increase the roughness of the leaf surface, thus retaining more particles (Liu et al., 2012;Zheng and Li, 2019;Li et al., 2021). ...
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Chapter
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Chapter
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