Identification of tree species that can biologically monitor air pollution and can endure air pollution is very much important for a sustainable green belt development around any polluted place. To ascertain the species, ten tree species were selected on the basis of some previous study from the campus of the University of Burdwan and were studied in the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. The study has been designed to investigate biochemical and physiological activities of selected tree species as the campus is presently exposed to primary air pollutants and their impacts on plant community were observed through the changes in several physical and biochemical constituents of plant leaves. As the plant species continuously exchange different gaseous pollutants in and out of the foliar system and are very sensitive to gaseous pollutants, they serve as bioindicators. Due to air pollution, foliar surface undergoes different structural and functional changes. In the selected plant species, it was observed that the concentration of primary air pollutants, proline content, pH, relative water holding capacity, photosynthetic rate, and respiration rate were higher in the pre-monsoon than the post-monsoon season, whereas the total chlorophyll, ascorbic acid, sugar, and conductivity were higher in the post-monsoon season. From the entire study, it was observed that the concentration of sulfur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and suspended particulate matter (SPM) all are reduced in the post-monsoon season than the pre-monsoon season. In the pre-monsoon season, SOx, NOx, and SPM do not have any significant correlation with biochemical as well as physiological parameters. SPM shows a negative relationship with chlorophyll ‘a’ (r = −0.288), chlorophyll ‘b’ (r = −0.267), and total chlorophyll (r = −0.238). Similarly, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and the total chlorophyll show negative relations with SOx and NOx (p < 0.005) during the post-monsoon season. Proline shows a positive relationship with SOx in the pre-monsoon season whereas in the post-monsoon season proline content shows a positive relationship with both SOx and NOx. The present study facilitates to screen eight sensitive and two moderately tolerant tree species according to their air pollution tolerance index (APTI) values.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.