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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

Assessment of Ambient Ozone Effects on Vegetation Using Snap Bean as a Bioindicator Species


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 3, p. 1081-1086
    Received: Jan 9, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): koburkey@unity.ncsu.edu
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  1. Kent O. Burkey *,
  2. Joseph E. Miller and
  3. Edwin L. Fiscus
  1. USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit and Department of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, 3127 Ligon Street, Raleigh, NC 27607


Tropospheric ozone is an air pollutant that is toxic to plants, causing visible injury to foliage and a reduction in growth and yield. The use of plant bioindicators is one approach to assess the ozone impacts in diverse geographical areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as a potential bioindicator species. Three snap bean genotypes known to exhibit a range of ozone sensitivity were grown in pots under charcoal-filtered (CF) or nonfiltered (NF) treatments in open-top chambers, or under ambient air (AA) conditions. Treatment effects on biomass were not significant at 56 days after planting (DAP), but midseason foliar injury increased in the NF and AA treatments relative to CF controls. An increase in ozone from 25 to 30 nL L−1 in CF controls to approximately 50 nL L−1 in the NF and AA treatments was found to suppress final pod dry weight per plant by 40 to 60% in the most sensitive genotype S156. The same treatments suppressed final pod dry weight by 20 to 30% in a moderately sensitive genotype Oregon-91, and by 10% or less in a tolerant genotype R123. An S156 to R123 yield ratio of approximately one was observed under CF conditions. The S156 to R123 yield ratio declined to 0.6 to 0.7 in the NF treatment and declined further to 0.4 to 0.5 in the AA treatment, suggesting that ozone impact was underestimated in the open-top chambers. The results suggest that a snap bean bioindicator system has the potential to detect ambient ozone effects at present-day ozone concentrations.

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Copyright © 2005. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA