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Evaluation of ambient air pollution impact on carrot plants at a suburban site using open top chambers

By S Tiwari, M Agrawal and F M Marshall

Abstract

t. The present experiment was done to evaluate the impact of ambient air pollution on carrot (Dacus carota var. Pusa Kesar) plants using open top chambers (OTCs) ventilated with ambient (NFCs) or charcoal filtered air (FCs) at a suburban site of Varanasi, India. Various morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics of the plants were studied at different growth stages. Air monitoring data clearly showed high concentrations of SO2, NO2 and O3 in the ambient air of study site. SO2 and NO2 concentrations were higher during early growth stages of carrot, whereas O3 concentration was highest during later growth stages. Filtration of air has caused significant reductions in all the three pollutant concentrations in FCs as compared to NFCs. Plants growing in FCs showed significantly higher photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, water use efficiency and variable fluorescence as compared to plants growing in NFCs. Protein content also showed a similar pattern, however, lipid peroxidation, ascorbic acid content and peroxidase activity were higher in plants growing in NFCs as compared to FCs. Shoot length, number of leaves per plant, leaf area and root and shoot weight increased significantly upon filtration of ambient air. Total nitrogen decreased significantly in root, but increased significantly in shoot of plants grown in NFCs. Total P, Mg, Ca and K contents decreased significantly in plants grown in NFCs as compared to FCs. The individual pollutant concentrations were below threshold for plant injury, but the combined effect of all the three seems to act synergistically in causing greater adverse impact on dry weight and physiology of carrot plants. The study clearly indicates that air pollutants are high enough in the ambient air to cause significant unfavorable impact on carrot plants. The work further supports the usefulness of OTCs for assessing air pollution damage under field conditions in developing countries

Publisher: Springer
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:26692
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