Environmental Skeptics and Critics, 2012, 1(1): 12-22
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Ecological effect of airborne particulate matter on plants

Santosh Kumar Prajapati
Department of Botany, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur (C.G.) - 495009, India

Received 25 November 2011;Accepted 2 January 2012;Published online 10 March 2012

Atmospheric particulate matter is a mixture of diverse elements. Deposition of particulate matter to vegetated surfaces depends on the size distribution of these particles and, to a lesser extent, on the chemistry. Effects of particulate matter on vegetation may be associated with the reduction in light required for photosynthesis and an increase in leaf temperature due to changed surface optical properties. Changes in energy exchange are more important than the diffusion of gases into and out of leaves which is influenced by dust load, color and particle size. Alkaline dust materials may cause leaf surface injury while other materials may be taken up across the cuticle. A more probable route for metabolic uptake and impact on vegetation and ecosystems is through the rhizosphere. Interception of dusts by vegetation makes an important contribution to the improvement of air quality in the vicinity of vegetation. Although the effect of particulate matter on ecosystem is linked to climate change, there is little threat due to un-speciated particulate matter on a regional scale.

Keywords particulate matter;deposition;alkaline;surface injury;rhizosphere

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