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Keywords:

  • Air pollution;
  • carbohydrates;
  • growth;
  • partitioning;
  • Populus maximowiczii × Populus nigra;
  • Populus nigra

Cuttings of Populus nigra L. cv. Loenen and Populus maximowiczii Henri ×Populus nigra L. cv. Rochester were exposed for 6 weeks in open-top chambers to investigate effects of realistic mixtures of ozone, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides on carbohydrate levels. Whereas the total main nonstructural carbohydrates in the leaves were reduced, those in the roots were nearly not affected. The reduction in leaf carbohydrates was associated with a significant decrease in starch. In contrast, sucrose and especially glucose were increased, causing a shift in the starch to sucrose and the starch to glucose ratios. The effects were strongest in the older leaves of both cultivars, with cv. Loenen, especially, responding to ozonic mixtures. In the petioles, sucrose and glucose were unchanged or, in some cases, decreased. The alterations in carbohydrate levels were coupled to a reduction in both total fresh weight of leaves and total dry matter of roots, and were attributed to an air pollution-dependent demand for energy and carbon in leaves.