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PLANT RESPONSE TO AIR POLLUTION
Weber, J., D. Tingey, AND C. Andersen. PLANT RESPONSE TO AIR POLLUTION. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/A-93/050 (NTIS PB93167260).
Air pollutants have a negative impact on plant growth, primarily through interfering with resource accumulation. Once leaves are in close contact with the atmosphere, many air pollutants, such as O3 and NOx, affect the metabolic function of the leaves and interfere with net carbon fixation by the plant canopy. Air pollutants that are first deposited on the soil, such as heavy metals, first affect the functioning of roots and interfere with soil resource capture by the plant. These reductions in resource capture (production of carbohydrate through photosynthesis, mineral nutrient uptake and water uptake from the soil) will affect plant growth through changes in resource allocation to the various plant structures. When air pollution stress co-occurs with other stresses, e.g. water stress, the outcome on growth will depend on a complex interaction of processes within the plant. At the ecosystem level, air pollution can shift the competitive balance among the species present and may lead to changes in the composition of the plant community. In agroecosystems, these changes may be manifest in reduced economic yield.