Biological trace element research

Using the pollen viability and morphology for fluoride pollution biomonitoring.

PMID 22161315


The methods using plants for biomonitoring of air and soil quality are simple, cheap, and fast and can supplement the classical physicochemical methods. In this study, biological pollen characterization of some collected legume species from an aluminum smelter area in Iran (IRALCO) was carried out to determine the actual value of pollen as a bioindicator of the effects of soil and atmospheric pollution. Young buds and flowers of six legumes (Cercis siliquastrum L., Medicago sativa L., Robinia pseudoacacia L., Melilotus officinalis (L.) lam, Trifolium repens L., and Sophora alopecuroides L.) in polluted and control plants were removed and compared. Studies of light and electron microscopic preparation showed some abnormalities during pollen development in affect of fluoride pollution. The viability of pollen grains estimated by staining with acetocarmine shows sharp differences in smearing advanced pollen grains from abnormal ones. Except M. officinalis, the pollen grains of C. siliquastrum, M. sativa, R. pseudoacacia, T. repens, and S. alopecuroides in polluted areas showed light, partial, or no staining with acetocarmine, whereas almost all of the control ones clearly stained. Observation of the pollen grains by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy showed the significant effect of fluoride on shapes and sizes of pollen grains. The stimulation and inhibition of these pollen characteristics depend on the pollen species as well as on the pollutant and its concentration. Therefore, pollen grains provide essential information on biological impact of pollutants and they are good candidates for biomonitoring the atmospheric and edaphic pollutions.

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