Authors: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


  • Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, 142290 Pushchino, Russia
  • Agro-Technology Institute, Peoples Friendship University of Russia, 117198 Moscow, Russia
  • Kola Science Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of the North Industrial Ecology Problems, 184209 Apatity, Russia
  • Federal Research Center “Pushchino Scientific Center for Biological Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences”, G.K. Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, 142290 Pushchino, Russia
  • Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
  • Soil Geography and Landscape Group, Wageningen University, 6707 Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems, National Research Council, 05010 Porano, Italy

Publication: Plants

Date: January 2022

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


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.