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J Environ Biol. 2008 Sep;29(5):661-8.

Ontogenetic changes in foliar features and psoralen content of Psoralea corylifolia Linn. exposed to SO2 stress.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi-110 062, India.


Field-grown Psoralea corylifolia plants were exposed to 0.5 ppm and 1.0 ppm concentrations of sulphur dioxide gas and sampled for observation at the pre-flowering, flowering and post-flowering stages of plant ontogeny. One ppm SO2 concentration caused a significant decline in leaf number and leaf area per plant, total leaf dry weight, and the size and amount of midrib vasculature. The density and size of stomata decreased and many stomata were damaged. Interestingly new epidermis developed oversome of the damaged leaf stomata, thus showing a unique defence strategy against SO2 stress through dedifferentiation of the epidermal cells. Decline in the concentrations of leafchlorophylls and carotenoids in treated plants were up to 20% and 29% respectively. Stomatal conductance, intercellular CO2 content and net photosynthetic rate lowered byover 52%, 20% and 35%, respectively under the SO2 stress. Concentration of psoralen, a basic linear furanocoumarin known for its use in the treatment of dermal diseases, was highest (5.32%) in seeds and lowest (0.28%) in roots. It was heavily reduced in SO2 treated plants, the maximum decline occurring in seeds (86.70%) and leaves (56.27%). In the roots and shoots of the treated plants, it was low in pre-flowering stage, compared with the control, but showed a recovery during the post-flowering phase of plant growth.

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