Letter | Published:

Extreme pollution sensitivity of grasses when SO2 and NO2 are present in the atmosphere together

Abstract

PREDICTIONS of the possible effects of atmospheric pollution on vegetation have usually been based on the results of experiments in which plants were fumigated in the laboratory. For many years it was thought that exposures to SO2 concentrations below 0.30 p.p.m. were not detrimental to higher plants1,2, which led to the belief that this form of pollution is unlikely to cause any appreciable damage to crops in Britain where, even in heavily populated areas, monthly mean SO2 concentrations are usually below 0.15 p.p.m., and daily means rarely exceed 0.30 p.p.m. (ref. 3). Recently, however, evidence has accumulated that concentrations of SO2; below 0.15 p.p.m. can be damaging to plants4–8, casting doubt on the comfortable conclusions drawn from earlier studies. We found that laboratory experiments can underestimate the amount of injury resulting in the field, and report here that combinations of SO2 with NO2 give more realistic effects.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Katz, M. Ind. Engng Chem. 41, 2450–2456 (1949).

  2. 2

    Thomas, M. D. Air Pollution, Wld Hlth Org. Monogr. Ser. 46, 233–278 (1961).

  3. 3

    The Investigation of Air Pollution, National Survey: Smoke and Sulphur Dioxide (Department of Trade and Industry, Warren Spring Laboratory, Stevenage, UK).

  4. 4

    Bell, J. N. B. & Clough, W. S. Nature 241, 47–49 (1973).

  5. 5

    Bleasdale, J. K. A. Environ. Pollut. 5, 275–285 (1973).

  6. 6

    Bell, J. N. & Mansfield, T. A. Nature 250, 443–444 (1974).

  7. 7

    Biscoe, P. V., Unsworth, M. H. & Pinckney, H. R. New Phytol. 72, 1299–1306 (1973).

  8. 8

    Ashenden, T. W. Environ. Pollut. 15, 161–166 (1978).

  9. 9

    Ashenden, T. W. & Mansfield, T. A. J. exp. Bot. 28, 729–735 (1977).

  10. 10

    Tingey, D. T., Reinert, R. A., Dunning, J. A. & Heck, W. W. Phytopathlogy 61, 1506–1511 (1971).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.