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Dry deposition of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in three Plantago species

Bakker, Martine I., Vorenhout, Michel, Sijm, Dick T.H.M., Kollöffel, Chris
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 1999 v.18 no.10 pp. 2289-2294
Plantago lanceolata, Plantago major, Plantago media, canopy, dry deposition, leaf area, leaves, molecular weight, plant architecture, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, roughness, surface area, trichomes
The concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the leaf wax of three Plantago species were determined weekly for 3 weeks. The almost glabrous, free—standing leaves of Plantago major and the sparsely hairy Plantago lanceolata leaves were more heavily contaminated with low molecular weight (MW) PAHs (MW < 228) than the densely hairy, partly overlapping Plantago media leaves. This may be caused by the lower canopy roughness (higher aerodynamic resistance), the higher amount of leaf hairs (higher boundary resistance), and/or the higher leaf overlap (smaller accessible leaf area) of P. media. On the other hand, PAHs with MW ≥ 252 tended to show higher concentrations in P. media than in the other two species. This is likely caused by the dense layer of hairs on P. media leaves, which can efficiently intercept the largely particle—bound high MW PAHs. When the PAH concentrations were normalized to projected leaf surface area, the differences between P. media and the other two species became significant (p < 0.05) for the high MW PAHs, while the differences for the low MW PAHs decreased. Although the differences in PAH concentrations between species are relatively small (factor 2–5), this study clearly shows that plant architecture and leaf hairs influence the dry deposition of PAHs.