Ozone Biomonitoring with Bel-W3 Tobacco Plants in the City of Valencia (Spain)
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A biomonitoring study using the ozone-sensitive bioindicator plant Nicotiana tabacum cv. Bel-W3 was conducted in the city of Valencia (eastern Spain) and surrounding areas in 2002. Plants were exposed to ambient air at seven sites, including four traffic-exposed urban sites, a large urban garden and a suburban and a rural station, for six consecutive 2-week periods using highly standardised methods. Foliar injury was registered at all stations in at least one of the exposure periods. The urban stations submitted to intense traffic showed lower ozone injury than the less traffic-exposed stations. Strong changes in the intensity of ozone injury were observed for the different exposure periods. Leaf injury was significantly related to both mean ozone values (24 and 12 h means) and cumulative exposure indices (AOT20, AOT40). However, correlation strength was moderate (r s = 0.39 to 0.58), suggesting that the plant response to ozone was modified by environmental factors. The use of sensitive bioindicators like tobacco Bel-W3 in cities provides complementary information to that of continuously operating air quality monitors, as the impact of ambient ozone levels is directly measured.
KeywordsAir quality Bioindicators Tobacco Bel-W3 Urban air pollution
This study was supported by the LIFE Environment Programme of the European Commission, DG Environment, under the grant LIFE/99/ENV/D/000453. We thank the Ayuntamiento de Valencia, Oficina Técnica de la Devesa-Albufera (A. Vizcaino, A. Quintana) for their valuable help in this study. José Jaime Diéguez helped to process the air monitoring data. Fundación CEAM members are also indebted to Generalitat Valenciana and Fundación Bancaja for continuous support to the activities of the Foundation.
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