Ecophysiological response of Eucalyptus camaldulensis to dust and lead pollution

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Muhammad Farrakh Nawaz
Muhammad Haroon U Rashid
Muhammad Zubair Arif
Muhammad Azeem Sabir
Taimoor Hassan Farooq
Sadaf Gul
Narayan Prasad Gautam


Air pollution, Urban Forestry, Environmental degradation, Pb, Chlorophyll, Tree growth


Background: Air and soil pollution are among the main concerns in urban areas worldwide, and dust and heavy metals are major contributors to environmental pollution. Lead (Pb) is a highly toxic heavy metal that badly affects human health as well as plant's survival and growth. Vegetation can play an important role in ameliorating the effects of these pollutants. Eucalyptus camaldulensis is well adapted and cultivated throughout a wide range of urban environments from temperate to tropical climates.

Methods: A 90 days experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of lead (Pb) and dust pollution on the growth performance of young E. camaldulensis plants. Four months old seedlings were treated with a factorial combinations of Pb (0,10 and 20 mg/l applied in irrigation) and dust levels (0,5 and 10 g applied on foliage).

Results: All morphological traits (root length, shoot length, stem diameter) and biomass (root and shoot, fresh and dry mass) of E. camaldulensis were significantly reduced when exposed to higher Pb and dust levels. The highest Pb treatments exhibited greater Pb accumulation in plant roots (23.54 ± 1.61 mg/kg), shoots (15.53 ± 1.98 mg/kg), and leaves (13.89 ± 1.49 mg/kg). Dust load on leaves was greater (72.78 ± 8.1 mg/cm2) for those treatments with higher dust and Pb additions compared to the control (16.11 ± 2.0 mg/cm2). Chlorophyll content was greater at the start of the experiment (68.78 ± 0.74 mg.g-1FW) and progressively decreased over time consistently  with the increase of Pb and dust levels applied.

Conclusions: The results of the experiment, suggest that E. camaldulensis could be successfully grown in minimum to moderate Pb and dust polluted urban environments.

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