Urban tree leaves’ chlorophyll-a content as a proxy of urbanization

Vanda Éva Molnár, B. Tóthmérész, Szilárd Szabó, Edina Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the effect of urbanization on air pollution based on the chlorophyll-a content of Celtis occidentalis leaves along an urbanization gradient (urban, suburban and rural areas) in Debrecen, Hungary. Chlorophyll-a content of Celtis occidentalis, Acer campestre, and Corylus avellana were compared to test which species is the most useful to study the effects of urbanization. Furthermore, the effects of washing solutions (distilled water, tap water, and rainwater) on chlorophyll-a content of tree leaves were also tested during sample preparation. Chlorophyll-a was extracted from leaf samples with acetone, and it was measured using a spectrophotometer. Along the urbanization gradient, chlorophyll-a content of C. occidentalis leaves was the lowest in the urban area; thus, this species proved to be an effective indicator of anthropogenic emission load. Differences were not significant among species in the suburban and rural areas, where the level of air pollution was moderate. We found that effects of the washing solutions on chlorophyll-a content did not differ significantly from each other. Thus, tap water can be used safely to clean the leaf surface, without significant influence on chlorophyll-a. Our study demonstrated that the chlorophyll-a content of leaves was a useful indicator to assess the level of air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAir Quality, Atmosphere and Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 18 2018


  • Air quality
  • Biomonitoring
  • Celtis occidentalis
  • Photosynthetic pigments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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