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Comparative evaluation of air pollution tolerance of plants from polluted and non-polluted regions of Bengaluru

BT Manjunath, Jayaram Reddy.

Abstract
Green vegetation act as a sink for particulate air pollutants and is considered as ecologically sustainable cost effective strategies to mitigate ill effects of air pollution in industrialized areas and urban environment. In this context, assessment of air pollution tolerance index (APTI) offers simple tool for screening and identifying plants that tolerate air pollution. Six plants commonly growing in the polluted regions of Bengaluru were selected for assessing the air pollution tolerance response. APTI indices of Ocimum sanctum, Ricinus communis, Leucas aspera, Lantana camara, Bougainvillea spectabilis and Vinca rosea were assessed and compared with the plants grown in non polluted sites of Bengaluru to analyse the response to air pollution. APTI correlations with the biochemical and physicochemical parameters was analysed to identify the important determinants of air pollution tolerance. Among the parameters assessed ascorbic acid content correlated with APTI scores of plants (R2 0.88). Among the plants evaluated high APTI of >23 was recorded in Bougainvillea spectabilis and Vinca rosea indicating that these plants are tolerant to air pollutants at the collected sites. Ocimum sanctum recorded lowest APTI of 8.77-9.42 indicating these plants are sensitive to air pollutants and can be used for biomonitoring the air pollution. Leucas aspera, Vinca rosea and Bougainvillea spectabilis with APTI score of >16 can be used as green belt in polluted areas.

Key words: Air Pollution Tolerance Index, Ascorbic acid, Chlorophyll, Relative Water Content



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