Growth and foliar nitrogen status of four plant species exposed to atmospheric ammonia

Adrizal, P. H. Patterson, R. M. Hulet, R. M. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A chamber study was conducted to evaluate the growth response and leaf nitrogen (N) status of four plant species exposed to continuous ammonia (NH 3) for 12 weeks (wk). This was intended to evaluate appropriate plant species that could be used to trap discharged NH3 from the exhaust fans in poultry feeding operations before moving off-site. Two hundred and forty bare-root plants of four species (Juniperus virginiana (red cedar), Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis (thornless honey locust), Populus sp. (hybrid poplar), and Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass) were transplanted into 4- or 8-L polyethylene pots and grown in four environmentally controlled chambers. Plants placed in two of the four chambers received continuous exposure to anhydrous NH3 at 4 to 5 ppm while plants in another two chambers received no NH3. In each of the four chambers, 2 to 4 plants per species received no fertilizer while the rest of the plants were fertilized with a 100 ppm solution containing 21% N, 7% phosphorus, and 7% potassium. The results showed that honey locust was the fastest-growing species. The superior growth of honey locust among all species was also supported by its total biomass, root, and root dry matter (DM) weights. For all species there was a trend for plants exposed to NH3 to have greater leaf DM than their non-exposed counterparts at 6 (43.0 vs. 30.8%; P = 0.09) and 12 wk (47.9 vs. 36.6%; P = 0.07), and significantly greater ( P ≤ 0.05) leaf N content at 6 (6.44 vs. 3.67%) and 12 wk (7.05 vs. 3.51%) when exposed to NH3. Numerically greater leaf DM due to NH3 exposure was also consistently measured in poplar at both sampling periods. Hybrid poplar, as well as honey locust and reed canary grass, deposited 1.5 to 2-fold greater N in their leaves than red cedar tissues as a result of NH3 exposure compared to non-exposed plants. Regardless of the effect of NH3 on foliar color and damage score of the plants, the increase of foliar N content (g 100 g-1 of fresh foliage weight) after NH3 exposure at 6 and 12 wk was 0.45 and 0.87 for grass, 1.25 and 1.34 for locust, and 2.67 and 6.09 for poplar. However, only honey locust likely benefited from ambient NH3 as indicated by its consistent leaf color quality and lower damage score, compared with other species that were adversely affected by atmospheric NH3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1018
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Growth and foliar nitrogen status of four plant species exposed to atmospheric ammonia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this