Phylloplane Biodiversity and Activity in the City at Different Distances from the Traffic Pollution Source

Kristina V. Ivashchenko*, Maria V. Korneykova, Olesya I. Sazonova, Anna A. Vetrova, Anastasia O. Ermakova, Pavel I. Konstantinov, Yulia L. Sotnikova, Anastasia S. Soshina, Maria N. Vasileva, Viacheslav I. Vasenev, Olga Gavrichkova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The phylloplane is an integrated part of green infrastructure which interacts with plant health. Taxonomic characterization of the phylloplane with the aim to link it to ecosystem functioning under anthropogenic pressure is not sufficient because only active microorganisms drive biochemical processes. Activity of the phylloplane remains largely overlooked. We aimed to study the interactions among the biological characteristics of the phylloplane: taxonomic diversity, functional diversity and activity, and the pollution grade. Leaves of Betula pendula were sampled in Moscow at increasing distances from the road. For determination of phylloplane activity and functional diversity, a MicroResp tool was utilized. Taxonomic diversity of the phylloplane was assessed with a combination of microorganism cultivation and molecular techniques. Increase of anthropogenic load resulted in higher microbial respiration and lower DNA amount, which could be viewed as relative inefficiency of phylloplane functioning in comparison to less contaminated areas. Taxonomic diversity declined with road vicinity, similar to the functional diversity pattern. The content of Zn in leaf dust better explained the variation in phylloplane activity and the amount of DNA. Functional diversity was linked to variation in nutrient content. The fraction of pathogenic fungi of the phylloplane was not correlated with any of the studied elements, while it was significantly high at the roadsides. The bacterial classes Gammaproteobacteria and Cytophagia, as well as the Dothideomycetes class of fungi, are exposed to the maximal effect of distance from the highway. This study demonstrated the sensitivity of the phylloplane to road vicinity, which combines the effects of contaminants (mainly Zn according to this study) and potential stressful air microclimatic conditions (e.g., low relative air humidity, high temperature, and UV level). Microbial activity and taxonomic diversity of the phylloplane could be considered as an additional tool for bioindication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number402
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022


  • Basal respiration
  • Epiphytes
  • Microbial functioning
  • Pathogenic microorganisms
  • Phyllosphere
  • Pollution
  • Potentially toxic metals
  • Trees


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