, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 3077-3085
Date: 04 Oct 2012

Physiological and chemical response of the lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale, to the urban environment of Kolkata, India

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Abstract

The present study was focused on the effect of increasing urbanization including industrial and traffic activity on the accumulation of heavy metals and possible damage of selected physiological parameters (composition of assimilation pigments, membrane lipid peroxidation, and membrane integrity) of an epiphytic foliose lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale. The lichen samples were collected from three different localities in and around Kolkata, India, two sites being from the urban area and one from the relatively non-polluted sub-urban area. The results showed that thalli from the urban sites have significantly higher concentrations of Fe, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Pb compared to those collected from the sub-urban site. Physiological parameters of damage also exhibited stress symptoms in thalli from the urban sites—decreased chlorophyll a indicating less photosynthetic efficiency, and increase in lipid peroxidation and electrolyte conductivity indicating cell membrane injuries. Correlation studies among metals pinpointed vehicular traffic as the main source of pollution in this area.

Responsible editor: Elena Maestri