False-colour SEM of polluted holly leaf

False-colour SEM of polluted holly leaf

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This image is part of the feature Clean And Deadly: Plant Lungs

Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: False-colour scanning electron micrograph of the underside of a leaf from a holly bush, Ilex aquif- olium, found growing in the city, where the air is polluted. (For comparison see E810/152). A number of stomata, pores which allow the exchange of gases, are visible in yellow. The deposit of brown particles comes from the exhaust from motor vehicles; it consists of particles of carbon (soot from the incomplete combustion of fuel), and lead (from leaded petrol). This residue coats the leaf surface, blocking the stomata and reducing the amount of light reaching the cells. Photosynthesis is impaired and hence the health of the plant is affected. Magnification x500 at 6x4.5cm size.

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Keywords: air pollution, atmospheric, effect, effect on plants, environment, environmental, epidermis, false-coloured, holly, ilex aquifolium, leaf, plant, plants, pollution, stoma

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