In study area the pH of the soil under cotton and tomato plants was increased by CaCO3 fall-out on the soil surface. The two species received the maximum deposition of CaCO3 dust (1.09 and 1.64 mg cm-2 of leaf surface area respectively) at plot I (lies directly on the road). This may explain why their growth was significantly retarded at this plot as compared with plot II and III (40 and 100 m respectively away from the road). Such reduction in plant growth had resulted in a significant decrease in fruit yield, which amounted to 54, and 25% respectively relative to plot III. Chlorophyll `a` increased in both plants with the increase in CaCO3 dust whereas chlorophyll `b` decreased and the increase in the first exceeded the decrease in the latter causing an increase in chl a/b ratio.The percentage increase in N (62%) and K (31%) in cotton and P (79%) and K (150%) in tomato was higher in the vicinity of the road (plot I). The other elements (P, Na, Ca and Mg in cotton; N, Na, Ca and Mg in tomato) showed tendency to decrease with the increase in CaCO3 dust. In this context, the low concentration of Na and high concentration of K in the two species at the same plot has lead to a decrease in Na/K ratio. Currently, the low Ca2+ content in two species in the vicinity of the road indicate that these plants may bind Ca2+ taken in water insoluble form and can maintain themselves to some extent in CaCO3 polluted environment. Mg followed the same trend as that of Ca2+.
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S.M. El-Darier, R.S. Youssef and M. A. Hemada, 2001. Ecophysiological Disturbances in Cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) and Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) Plants in Response to CaCO3 Dust, Emitted from Asphalt-Batch Processes. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 4: 1406-1410.
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