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Investigation into the Importance of the Stomatal Pathway in the Exchange of PCBs between Air and Plants.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)4282-4287
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The transfer of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from air to vegetation is an important air-surface exchange process that affects global cycling and can result in human and wildlife exposure via the terrestrial food chain. To improve understanding of this process, the role of stomata in uptake of gas-phase polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was investigated using Hemerocallis x hybrida "Black Eyed Stella", a plant with a high stomatal density. Uptake of PCBs was monitored over a 72-h period in the presence and absence of light. Uptake rates were significantly greater in illuminated (stomata open) plants than unilluminated (stomata closed) plants for 18 of the 28 measured PCB congeners (p < 0.05). Depuration of PCBs was monitored in a subsequent experiment over a period of 3 weeks. Levels after 3 weeks of depuration time were still much higher than the concentration prior to contamination. Tri- and tetrachlorinated PCBs showed the greatest depuration, with less than 20% and 50% of accumulated PCBs respectively remaining, while ~70% of higher chlorinated PCB congeners remained in the plants at the end of the experiment. Treatments with/without light (to control stomatal opening during uptake) and with/without abscisic acid (ABA) application (to control stomatal opening during depuration) were compared. After contamination indoors for 3 days, there was a significantly higher concentration of PCBs (p < 0.05) in the light contaminated plants than the dark-contaminated plants for 13 of the 28 measured PCB congeners. The ABA treatment affected depuration of PCB-18 only. "Light/ABA-treated" plants had a significantly slower depuration rate for PCB-18 than "light/untreated", "dark/ABA-treated", and "dark/untreated" plants (p < 0.05). The results of the study indicate that there is a stomatal effect on the rate of exchange of PCBs between Hemerocallis leaves and air.