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Quantitative assessment of individual and combined impact of ozone and aerosols on wheat cultivar: Growth, development, biochemical, physiological and yield attributes

Usha Mina, Anjali Kandpal, Arti Bhatia, Sachin D. Ghude, D.S. Bisht, Deepak Singh, Pramod Kumar
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2019 pp. -
Triticum aestivum, aerosols, agrochemicals, air pollutants, air pollution, air quality, antioxidants, ascorbic acid, crops, cultivars, gas exchange, grain yield, ozone, photosynthesis, stomata, stomatal conductance, synergism, temperature, wheat, India, Indo-Gangetic Plain
Air pollutants, especially, ozone (O3) and aerosols reduce productivity and contribute to existing potentially achievable and currently achieved yields i.e., yield gaps of crops in India. The present study was first attempt that addressed impact of individual and combined exposure of ozone and aerosols on wheat (Triticum aestivum, var. HD2967) productivity, as its crop growth period in Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) coincides with the build-up of these pollutants in atmosphere. HD2967 cultivar exposed to ambient and elevated levels of O3, ambient and elevated aerosols deposition, with and without exogenous application of ascorbic acid (AA), through eight treatments in free air O3 enrichment facility and assessed for its growth, biochemical and physiological and yield attributes response. Exposure of HD2967 to both combined O3 and aerosol deposition stress, variably and adversely affected its growth, biochemical and physiological attributes. Aerosol deposition clogged stomata and enhanced leaf temperature. However, plants exposed to O3 and aerosol deposition stress and treated with AA exhibited less reduction in productivity as compared to plants exposed to O3 and aerosol deposition without AA treatment. AA spray enhanced the intracellular AA content (9-25%) of wheat plants. Gaseous exchange attributes- photosynthesis (PN), stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration (Tr) were negatively correlated with O3 and aerosol deposition stress (-0.43, -0.44, -0.53, p<0.05). The decline in grain yield of HD2967 due to combined and synergistic effects of O3 and aerosols deposition stress were in the range of 6-17%. AA spray partially mitigated ozone and aerosols deposition adverse impact and enhanced wheat yield by 16%. The results of the study indicates the deterioration in air quality due to O3 and aerosol air pollutants, will be detrimental for productivity of wheat crop and also contributes in enhancing the existing yield gaps. Ascorbic acid or antioxidant based agrochemicals can be used to reduce and mitigate the adverse impact of O3 and aerosol air pollutants on wheat.