Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is considered as a main air pollutant in industrialized areas that can damage vegetation. In the present study, we investigated how exposure to SO2 and foliar application of iron (Fe) would affect certain physiological characteristics of Plantago major. The plant seedlings exposed or unexposed to SO2 (3900 μg m−3) were non-supplemented or supplemented with Fe (3 g L−1) as foliar spray. Plants were exposed to SO2 for 6 weeks in 100 × 70 × 70 cm chambers. Fumigation of plants with SO2 was performed for 3 h daily for 3 days per week (alternate day). Lower leaf Fe concentration in the plants exposed to SO2 at no added Fe treatment was accompanied with incidence of chlorosis symptoms and reduced chlorophyll concentration. No visible chlorotic symptoms were observed on the SO2-exposed plants supplied with Fe that accumulated higher Fe in their leaves. Both at with and without added Fe treatments, catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD) activity was higher in the plants fumigated with SO2 in comparison with those non-fumigated with SO2. Foliar application of Fe was also effective in increasing activity of antioxidant enzymes CAT and POD. Exposure to SO2 led to reduced cellulose but enhanced lignin content of plant leaf cell wall. The results obtained showed that foliar application of Fe was effective in reducing the effects of exposure to SO2 on cell wall composition. In contrast to SO2, application of Fe increased cellulose while decreased lignin content of the leaf cell wall. This might be due to reduced oxidative stress induced by SO2 in plants supplied with Fe compared with those unsupplied with Fe.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 17, 2017
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