Regular Articles

Effects of road dust on the growth characteristics of Sophora japonica L. seedlings

Le Bao , Laiye Qu , Keming Ma , Lin Lin


Received April 17, 2015,Revised August 10, 2015, Accepted August 27, 2015, Available online April 05, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 147-155

Road dust is one of the most common pollutants and causes a series of negative effects on plant physiology. Dust's impacts on plants can be regarded as a combination of load, composition and grain size impacts on plants; however, there is a lack of integrated dust effect studies involving these three aspects. In our study, Sophora japonica seedlings were artificially dusted with road dust collected from the road surface of Beijing so that we could study the impacts of this dust on nitrogen/carbon allocation, biomass allocation and photosynthetic pigments from the three aspects of composition, load and grain size. The results showed that the growth characteristics of S. japonica seedlings were mostly influenced by dust composition and load. Leaf N, root–shoot ratio and chlorophyll a/b were significantly affected by dust composition and load; leaf C/N, shoot biomass, total chlorophyll and carotenoid were significantly affected by dust load; stem N and stem C/N were significantly affected by dust composition; while the dust grain size alone did not affect any of the growth characteristics. Road dust did influence the growth characteristics more extensively than loam. Therefore, a higher dust load could increase the differences between road dust and loam treatments. The elements in dust are well correlated to the shoot N, shoot C/N, and root–shoot ratio of S. japonica seedlings. This knowledge could benefit the management of urban green spaces.

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