J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (12): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00421.x

• Research Articles •    

Ecophysiological Response of Plants to Combined Pollution from Heavy-duty Vehicles and Industrial Emissions in Higher Humidity

Hong-Xia Cui, Gao-Ming Jiang , Shu-Li Niu , Chuang-Dao Jiang, Mei-Zhen Liu, Shun-Li Yu and Lei-Ming Gao   

Abstract: Pollution can be aggravated in industrial areas if traffic exhausts are mixed with industrial emissions under high humidity conditions. Plants growing in such environments may suffer from severe stress. The impact of vehicle emissions on urban vegetation in an industrial area in Qingdao, China, was investigated by studying seven plant species at visible, physiological and chemical levels. The traits of plant species in certain environmental conditions were compared between a clear area, Badaguan (BDG), and polluted area, Roadside (RS). We found that foliar sulfur uptake for all species was not significantly high at RS compared with BDG, although the sulfur content of atmosphere and surface soils at RS were much higher than those at BDG. For Ailanthus altissima Swingle, the content of foliar pigment and net photosynthesis rate (PN) decreased by 20%. Meanwhile, leaves became incrassate and no visible leaf damage was noted, suggesting this species could adapt well to pollution. A 50% decrease in PN occurred in Hibiscus syriacus L., but there was no statistical change in content of chlorophyll a and b and water uptake. Also, thickened leaves may prevent the pollutant from permeation. Foliar water content was still at a low level, although a water compensation mechanism was established for Fraxinus chinensis Rosb. reflected by low water potential and high water use efficiency. More adversely, a 65% decrease in PN happened inevitably with the significant decomposition of photosynthetic pigments, which exhibited visible damage. We also noted in one evergreen species (Magnolia grandiflora L.) that water absorption driven by low water potential should be helpful to supply water loss induced by strong stomatal transpiration and maintain normal growth. Furthermore, photosynthetic pigment content did not decline statistically, but supported a stable net assimilation. Two herbaceous species, Poa annua L. and Ophiopogon japonicus Ker-Gawl., were very tolerant to adverse stress compared to other woody species, especially in assimilation through a compensatory increase in leaf area. A more remarkable decline in PN (decrease 80%) was noted in the exotic but widespread species, Platanus orientalis L., with serious etiolation and withering being exhibited on the whole canopy. Our results suggested, special for woody species, that most native species are more tolerant to pollution and therefore should to be broadly used in a humid urban industrial environment with heavy-duty vehicle emissions.(Author for correspondence. Tel (Fax): +86 (0)10 6283 6286; E-mail: jianggm@126.com)

Key words: heavy-duty vehicle, photosynthesis, pigments, urban vegetation, water potential.

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