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Effect of Air Pollution on Chlorophyll Content of Leaves

Sumitra Giri*1, Deepali Shrivastava2 , Ketki Deshmukh2, Pallavi Dubey2

1*Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India- 462038 2Institute for Excellence in Higher Education, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India- 462016

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12944/CARJ.1.2.04

ABSTRACT:

In the present investigation, comparative studies have been done, to find the effect of air pollutants generated from the exhaust of industries and automobiles on the chrorophyll content of leaves. The leaves samples of Azadirachta indica, Nerium oleander, Mangifera indica and­ Dalbergia sissoo were collected from areas with potentially higher and lower levels of air pollution Photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll  a, chlorophyll  b and carotenoids  were quantified. A reduction in the photosynthetic pigments of plant leaves growing in higher polluted site as compared to non or less polluted ones.

KEYWORDS:

Chlorophyll;Carotenoids;Air Pollution, Quantification; Photosynthetic Pigments

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Giri S, Shrivastava D, Deshmukh K, Dubey P. Effect of Air Pollution on Chlorophyll Content of Leaves. Curr Agri Res 2013;1(2). doi : http://dx.doi.org/10.12944/CARJ.1.2.04


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Giri S, Shrivastava D, Deshmukh K, Dubey P. Effect of Air Pollution on Chlorophyll Content of Leaves. Curr Agri Res 2013;1(2). Available from: http://www.agriculturejournal.org/?p=683


Introduction

Industrialization,  urbanization,  economic  growth  and  associated increase  in  energy  demands  have  resulted  in  a  profound  deterioration  of  air quality  in  developing  countries  like  India.  Oxides  of  nitrogen  and  sulphur  and  fly-ash  constitute  as  the  major  proportions  for  the  gaseous  and  particulate emissions  from  industries  and  automobile.  The  exposure  of  these  pollutants   to the  leaves  cause  a  reduction  in  the  concentration  of  their  photosynthetic pigments  viz.,  chlorophyll  and  carotenoids,  which  affects  the  plant  productivity, germination  of  seeds,  length  of  pedicles,  and  number  of  flowers  inflorescence [1].  Chlorophyll  is  the  principal  photoreceptor  in  photosynthesis,  the  light-driven  process  by  which  carbon  dioxide is   “fixed”  to  yield  carbohydrates  and  oxygen.  While  carotenoid  is  a  class  of natural  fat-soluble  pigment  found  principally  in  plants,  algae  and  photosynthetic bacteria,  where  they  play  a  critical  role  in  the  photosynthetic  process [2]  and  also  protect  chlorophyll  from photoxidative  destruction [3].  When  plants  are  exposed to  the  environmental  pollution  above  the  normal  physiologically  acceptable range,  photosynthesis  gets  inactivated [4].  Since, the  plants  leaf  samples  used  for  this  experiment  were  constantly  exposed  to  air pollutants  (polluted  area-   industrial  area,  automobile  area  &  less  polluted  area  – jungle, they had absorbed [5],  accumulated  and  integrated  pollutants  on their surface  and  showed  specific  response.  Hence, plants can be  used as  bioindicators  in  various  field  of  research [6].

Bhopal  City  of  Lakes  is  an  important  tourist  centre  and  industrially  developing city.  It  is  densely  populated  and  has  heavy  vehicular  traffic.  Air  pollution  has increased  tremendously  that  is  affecting  the  proper  growth  of  plants  in  its vicinity.  The  rapid  addition  of  toxic  substances  to  environment  is  responsible  for altering  the  ecosystem [7].  Plants  growing  in  heavy  trafficular  area  are  thus  exposed  to  variety  of  pollutants  such  as  SMP,  RSMP,  NoX , &  Soetc.

Materials and Methods

Present investigation deals with comparative study of under heavy trafficular pollution wi­­­­­th those growing in less or unpolluted areas. For this purpose leaf samples of Azadirachta indica (Neem), Nerium oleander(Kaner), Mangifera indica(Mango) and Dalbergia sissoo (Sheeshame) were collected from highly polluted  and less or unpolluted area.

Study Area and Sample Collection

Four sites were selected for polluted area as well as for less or non polluted area from Bhopal City district and capital of Madhya Pradesh, situated at 23° 15′ 0″ N, 77° 25′ 0″ E in India. For polluted area samples were collected from Mandideep and Govindpura as industrial area and DIG Banglow (situated near Union Carbide India limited pesticide plant responsible for Bhopal Gas Tragedy), Chetak Bridge as highly traffic area. For non polluted or less polluted area we selected Kaliasot Jungle, VIP Road, Indian Institute of Soil Science & Barkatullah University.

Determination of Chlorophyll Content

50 mg of fresh leaf tissue was weighed accurately; Chlorophyll was extracted by crushing leaf and suspended in test tubes containing 10 ml of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO). Test tubes were incubated at 60° C – 65° C for 4 hour in a hot air oven. The supernatant was decanted and the chlorophyll extract was transferred to a cuvette and the absorbance was read in a spectrophotometer at 645 and 663 nm against DMSO blank [8] Chlorophyll a, b, total chlorophyll and chlorophyll a/b ratio were calculated by using formulae given by [9].

Results And Discussion

Photosynthetic pigment Changes

Variations in physiological characteristics of selected plant species exposed to cement dust pollutants are given in Table 1, 2,3 and 4 (Fig. 1). The results obtained with polluted and non polluted Azadirachta indica, Nerium oleander, Mangifera indica and­ Dalbergia sissoo were compared. In general, plants showed a decrease in photosynthetic pigments due to air pollution. Azadirachta indica, Nerium oleander, Mangifera indica and­ Dalbergia sissoo showed a significant reduction in total chlorophyll content, chlorophyll ‘a’ and chlorophyll ‘b’ in the study period. But there is no significant change in total carotenoids of the selected plant species.

Azadirachta indica

 

Table 1. CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS (mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Azadirachta indica COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES Table 1. CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS (mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Azadirachta indica COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES

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Mangifera indica

 

Table 2. CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS ( mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Mangifera indica COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES    Table 2. CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS ( mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Mangifera indica COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES    

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Nerium oleander

 

CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Nerium oleander  COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Nerium oleander  COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL SITES

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Dalbergia sissoo

 

CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Dalbergia sissoo COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL  SITES CONCENTRATION  OF DIFFERENT PHOTOSYNTHETIC  PIGMENTS mg g-1) IN THE LEAVES OF Dalbergia sissoo COLLECTED FROM POLLUTED AND CONTROL  SITES

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Figure 1. Concentration of Chlorophyll Content Collected from Polluted or less Polluted area. Figure 1. Concentration of Chlorophyll Content Collected from Polluted or less Polluted area. 

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Azadirachta indica

The concentration of Chl ‘a’ in the leaves of Azadirachta indica at polluted sites was recorded as 0.49±0.09 mg/g which was 1.65±0.27 mg/g at the control site. Thus a reduction of 70.3% in Chlorophyll ‘a’ was recorded in the samples from the polluted sites in comparison to control. The concentration of Chl ‘b’ was 0.28±0.10 mg/g in the leaf samples collected from polluted sites while it was 0.69±0.09 mg/g in the samples from control site. The polluted sites sample thus had 53.78% less Chl ’b’ content. Total chlorophyll content was 1.04±0.05 mg/g and 2.19±0.05 in the leaf samples collected from polluted and control site respectively. Thus, there was a reduction of 52.4% in the total chlorophyll content in the samples from polluted site. The concentration of total carotenoids in the leaf samples from polluted and control site was recorded as 0.36±0.06 mg/g and 0.56±0.16 mg/g respectively with a reduction of 35.71% in leaf samples from polluted sites.

Mangifera indica

The concentration of Chl ‘a’ in the leaves of Mangifera indica at polluted sites was recorded as 1.87±0.35 mg/g which was 2.37±0.42 mg/g at the control site. Thus a reduction of 21.14% in Chlorophyll ‘a’ was recorded in the samples from the polluted sites in comparison to control. The concentration of Chl ‘b’ was 0.20±0.04 mg/g in the leaf samples collected from polluted sites while it was 0.62±0.14 mg/g in the samples from control site. The polluted sites sample thus had 67.48% less Chl ‘b’ content. Total chlorophyll content was 2.02±0.46 mg/g and 2.75±0.65 in the leaf samples collected from polluted and control site respectively. Thus, there was a reduction of 26.55% in the total chlorophyll content in the samples from polluted site. The concentration of total carotenoids in the leaf samples from polluted and control site was recorded as 0.19±0.09 mg/g and 0.32±0.12 mg/g respectively with a reduction of 40.63% in leaf samples from polluted sites.

Nerium oleander

The concentration of Chl ‘a’ in the leaves of Nerium oleander at polluted sites was recorded as 1.00±0.35 mg/g which was 2.02±0.32 mg/g at the control site. Thus a reduction of 50.37% in Chlorophyll ‘a’ contentwas recorded in the samples from the polluted sites in comparison to control. The concentration of Chl ‘was 0.36±0.14 mg/g in the leaf samples collected from polluted sites while it was 0.47±0.24 mg/g in the samples from control site. The polluted sites sample thus had 24.51% less Chl ‘b’ content. Total chlorophyll content was 1.25±0.46 mg/g and 2.14±0.35 in the leaf samples collected from polluted and control site respectively. Thus, there was a reduction of 41.71% in the total chlorophyll content in the samples from polluted site. The concentration of total carotenoids in the leaf samples from polluted and control site was recorded as 0.31±0.08 mg/g and 0.49±0.11 mg/g respectively with a reduction of 37.11% in leaf samples from polluted sites.

Dalbergia sissoo

The concentration of Chl ‘a’ in the leaves of Dalbergia sissoo at polluted sites was recorded as 1.74±0.35 mg/g which was 2.71±0.42 mg/g at the control site. Thus a reduction of 35.98% in chl ‘a’ content was recorded in the samples from the polluted sites in comparison to control. The concentration of Chl ‘b’ was 0.59±0.14 mg/g in the leaf samples collected from polluted sites while it was 0.79±0.24 mg/g in the samples from control site. The polluted sites sample thus had 24.66% less Chl ‘b’ content. Total chlorophyll content was 2.25±0.46 mg/g and 3.64±0.65 in the leaf samples collected from polluted and control site respectively. Thus, there was a reduction of 38.32% in the total chlorophyll content in the samples from polluted site. The concentration of total carotenoids in the leaf samples from polluted and control site was recorded as 0.78±0.08 mg/g and 1.22±0.11 mg/g respectively with a reduction of 36.48% in leaf samples from polluted sites.

Air pollutants, fly ash and dust emissions have a profound impact on the concentration of different photosynthetic pigments. Polluted and dusted leaf surface is responsible for reduced photosynthetic and thereby causing reduction in chlorophyll content [10]. The similar impact of air pollutants in the concentration of chlorophyll contents have been reported by a number of other works [11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17]. In the present study the highest decrease in total chlorophyllwas in Azadirachta indica (52.40%) followed by Nerium oleander (41.71%) Delbergia sissoo (38.32%) and Mangifera indica (26.55%). The two way ANOVA showed that the reduction in chlorophyll content of Azadirachta indica Nerium oleander Delbergia sissoo and Mangifera indica were significant at 0.05% level.

Total average amount of assimilating pigments

Total average amount of assimilating pigments (a+b+c) in the control plant leaves of Azadirachta indica was maximum reduction (53.27%) compared with Mangifera indica (43.08%) Nerium oleander (37.33%) and Delbergia sissoo (31.48%). The chlorophyll a + b, carotenodic pigments, (a +b/c) ratio had extremely low values compared to the control because of significant drop of both types of chlorophyll as well as the increase of carotenoidic pigments. It indicates the plant species are under stress and also had damage due to pollution.

The photosynthetic pigments are the most likely to be damaged by air pollution.  Chlorophyll   pigments exist in highly organized state, and under stress they may undergo several photochemical reactions such as oxidation, reduction, pheophytinisation and reversible bleaching [18]. Hence any alteration in chlorophyll concentration may change the morphological, physiological and biochemical behaviour of the plant. Air pollution-induced degradation in photosynthetic pigments   was   also   observed   by   a   number   of   workers [19],[20],[21]. In both the plants chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b content were reduced significantly at polluted site.

The results of this study indicated a decline in chlorophyll content in trees growing in industrial area. The reduction in chlorophyll content is due to degradation of chlorophyll into phaeophytin by the loss of magnesium ions. Chlorophyll content may differ in different period of time under different conditions of pollution stress and different meteorological conditions. Thus it is concluded that in the study area there is need to develop green belt for the betterment of environment and human being. On the basis of this study, it could be concluded that growth of plants was found to be affected by cement dust, which might be due to the presence of different toxic pollutants in cement dust. The phonological behavior of Azadirachta indica was found to be highly affected than Mangifera indica, Nerium oleander and Delbergia sissoo . It is clear that the air pollution caused by industries and automobile smoke are operative ecological factor causing deterioration in the quality of our environment [22]. From the correlated interpretation of the obtained data, one can conclude that, beside particular manifestations of interactions between atmospheric pollutants (gas and solid) and vegetations, there is a common series of manifestations, as a general response to the stress caused by pollutants aggressions, regardless of their chemical nature. Under the influence of solid and gas polluting agents the average photosynthetic pigment amount drops, the values being most often correlated to the pollutants. Further investigations are necessary, in order to study the variation of these pigments in the control leaves along all vegetative season and to anticipate more accurately the possible ‘answers’ that the vegetation might have when subjected to a chronic aggression from atmospheric polluting agents.

Acknowledgement

The authors are thankful to Institute for Excellence in Higher Education,   Bhopal   for  their financial assistance  to carry out a research work on Chlorophyll Content.

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