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ESSENCE - International Journal for Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation

Volume VIII: No. 1 2017 [224 – 231] [ISSN 0975 - 6272]


Trends of pigmentation in foliar tissue of some arid and Sub-arid zone plants
of Northern Rajasthan

Malhotra, G. S.1 and Madan, Jyoti2

Received: January 26, 2017  Accepted: February 11, 2017  Online: June 30, 2017

Abstract Introduction
The contents of chlorophylls and carotenoids The chlorophylls and carotenoids are the
provide valuable information about the common pigments of the plant leaf that are
physiological and metabolic state of the responsible for the photosynthesis. The
plant. The present study was conducted to contents of chlorophylls and carotenoids
know the plant pigmentation status in foliar provide valuable information about the
tissue of few arid and sub-arid zone plants of physiological and metabolic state of the plant
the Northern Rajasthan. The three replicate (Sims et. al., 2000, Gitelson and Merzlyak
samples from selected plant species were 1994, Jones et. al., 2004). In recent few
taken and analysed for plant pigmentation. years, Chlorophyll and carotenoids studies
The study reveals that Chlorophyll a is the have been used to evaluate the plant
foremost plant pigment which were being responses to environmental factors including
found with other ancillary plant pigments elevated carbon dioxide (Houpis and
such as chlorophyll b and carotenoids with Anderson 1991), season (Ottander et. al.,
significate mathematical correlation values 1995), light levels (Lewandowska 1977) and
and among the Salvadora persica, Cordia nutrient availability (Bracher and Murtha
dicotma and Zizyphus nummularia have 1993). Further, pigments ratio like
greatest values for plant pigments. chlorophyll a/b and carotenoids/chlorophyll
Keywords: Plant pigments | Chlorophylls | (a+b) used as a tool to study the
Carotenoids | Arid zone plants photosynthetic acclimation in plants (Ormrod
et. al., 1999) and it has also been studied that
ratios of chlorophyll a/b and
carotenoids/chlorophyll (a+b) is positively
correlated with excess light stress in plants
For correspondence:
(Demmig and Adams 1996).
1Departmentof Environmental Sciences,
2Departmentof Chemistry, Essentially, the chlorophylls and carotenoids
Maharshi Dayanand College, Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan,
India absorb light energy and transfer it to the
photosynthetic apparatus of leaf, therefore,

Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 

determination of leaf pigment’s contents can Materials and Methods

provide a valuable information to integrate
The present study was conducted between the
and understand the productivity of the plants
July 2010 to September 2010 and 10
(Sims and Gamon 2000) and hence, the
different plant species viz.- Aegel marmelos,
content of plant pigments help to understand
Albizia lebbeek, Butea monosperma, Cordia
the ecosystem productivity (Gonzalez et. al.,
dicotma, Ficus bengalensis, Moringa
oleifera, Salvadora persica, Tecomella
The chlorophylls content and the chlorophyll undulata, Zizyphus jujube, Zizyphus
a/b ratio in some plants is affected by nummularia were selected for the sampling.
temperature (Ottander et. al., 1995) and The fresh leaves of these plants were
prevail shade characteristics (Castrillo et. al., collected from the 4 different localities viz.-
2001). Besides this, variation in plant Khalsa College Campus, M.D College
pigments could be related to phenological Campus, S.G.N. Girls College Campus, Teen
phases of the plant species such as flowering Puli Road at Sri Ganganagar. The 3 replicate
and production of sprouts (Arthur et al., samples of the mature leaf of each plant were
1987) and high carotenoids concentration is collected from the sampling sites. Only
directly associated with environmental stress leaves that were healthy and homogeneous in
(Pallett and Young, 1990). colour without visible symptoms of damage
were taken. The extraction of plant pigment
Physiography of the Area
was prepared in 80% acetone by taking the
This region has both extremities of climate, 1cm2 area of sampling leaf. To get the
as it is too hot during the summer, while too homogenous chlorophyll+Acetone solution,
cold and dried in winter. Prior to 1927, this the centrifugation for 5 minutes at 2500 rpm
region was dominated by sand dunes but was performed (Boyer 2000). All the care
presently by the approaching of three canal was taken to avoid any type of
systems (1) Gang canal system (2) Indira contamination.
Gandhi canal system (3) Bhakra canal
The chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, Total
system, the land use pattern has been shifted
chlorophyll (a+b) and Total Carotenoids
towards the agriculture. Now it is considered
(x+c) content were determined spectrophoto -
as irrigated-desert and dominated by
metrically by using the following equations.
agriculture and agriculture based industries.
The optical density/absorbance A was
Its terrain is made by alluvial sandy-loam soil
measured at 663.2 nm, 646.8 nm and 470 nm
and there is an absence of rocks or gravel
(Lichtenthaler and Buschmann, 2001).
material (Ramakrishnan M. and
Vaidyanadhan R. 2010). Due to the Chlorophyll a = 12.25*A663.2-2.79*A646.8
deficiency of water, alluvial actions on the
Chlorophyll b = 21.50*A646.8-5.10*A663.2
ground are more prominent and top soil
remain scarce in organic matter and soil Chlorophyll (a+b) =7.15*A663.2 +
nutrients. 18.71*A646.8

Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 

Total Carotenoids (x+c) =1000*A470-1.82chl in the experiment 1 cm2 leaf tissue was
a - 85.02 chl b/198 extracted in Acetone therefor the final result
can be expressed as g/cm2.
The value of Pigment Concentration was
found in g/ml of extracted solution. Since,
Chl.a Total Chl. Total Carot.
Sampling Plant Species (g/cm2 Chl/Carot. Chl. a/b
(g/cm2) (g/cm2) (g/cm2)
Aegel marmelos 18.28 06.89 25.17 05.86 4.290 2.651
Albizia lebbeek 21.26 06.70 27.96 08.40 3.327 3.170
Butea monosperma 14.14 06.34 20.49 05.14 3.980 2.228
Cordia dicotma 45.87 16.62 62.50 12.42 5.032 2.758
Ficus bengalensis 29.06 12.81 41.87 09.38 4.463 2.265
Moringa oleifera 30.22 08.63 38.86 9.018 4.308 3.499
Salvadora persica 48.64 25.68 74.32 11.49 6.464 1.894
Tecomella undulata 15.49 05.88 21.38 05.45 3.919 2.632
Zizyphus jujuba 21.34 08.91 30.25 11.25 2.688 2.395
Zizyphus nummularia 44.37 24.91 69.28 12.35 5.609 1.781
Table 1.1 Showing the mean values (all sampling sites) of
plant pigment contents in studied plant species
Results and Discussion
dicotma (16.62 g/cm2) have the higher
The study of photosynthetic pigments of value for chlorophyll b. On the other hand,
some arid and sub-arid zone plants of Tecomella undulata has the lowest value of
Northern Rajasthan is revealing that all plants chlorophyll b (5.88 g/cm2).
are differed in pigment contents according to
The curve between Total chlorophyll and
their age, size and photosynthetic potential.
sampling plant species (Figure 1.3) is
The curve between chlorophyll a and showing that Salvadora persica have the
sampling plant species (Figure 1.1) is highest value for Total chlorophylls (74.32
showing that Salvadora persica have the g/cm2). The higher values of Total
greatest value for chlorophyll a (48.64 chlorophyll are advocating that plant species
g/cm ),
subsequently, Cordia dicotma Salvadora persica and Zizyphus nummularia
(45.87 g/cm ) and Zizyphus nummularia
have great photosynthetic potential. Since the
(44.375 g/cm2) have higher values. On the photosynthetic activity is directly related to
other hand, Butea monosperma have the plant productivity (Gitelson and Merzlyak
lowest value for chlorophyll a (14.14 1994), so these plants also have higher
g/cm2). productivity among all these arid plant
species. It has been established that
The curve between chlorophyll b and
productivity of higher plants is mediated by
sampling plant species (Figure 1.2) is
leaves and adaptation of plants to the
showing that Salvadora persica have the
environment involve leaf traits (Valladars
greatest value for chlorophyll b (25.68, 2000).
g/cm2), and subsequently, Zizyphus
nummularia (24.91 g/cm2) and Cordia
Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 

The curve between Total chlorophylls and and it is varying at almost double in
sampling plant species (Figure 1.3) also magnitude. So, there is no common fashion
giving an interesting interpretation that of pigmentation ratio found in the studied
Salvadora persica, Zizyphus nummularia and plants.
Cordia dicotma have higher values of Total
The curve between chlorophyll a/b ratio and
chlorophylls, besides, their tendency to
studied plant species (Figure 1.6) is revealing
remain shade enduring during the
that Moringa oleifera has the greatest value
photosynthesis. Consequently, they have
of chlorophyll a/b index. It is giving a
increased chlorophyll in their leaves to
conclusion that this plant is potentially under
compensate the effect of dim light versus
the influence of pollution or environmental
productivity (Valladars, 2000).
stress. This finding can be useful for the
The curve between Total carotenoids and making of an ideal bioindicator for
sampling plant species (Figure 1.4) is environmental stress in this region. In general
showing that Cordia dicotma have greatest setting, the chlorophyll a/b index falling
value for Total carotenoids (12.42 g/cm2) between 1.781-3.499 in all studied arid and
and plant species Zizyphus nummularia sub-arid plant species of Northern Rajasthan.
(12.35 g/cm2) Salvadora persica (11.49 The curve between chlorophyll a and
g/cm ) and Zizyphus jujuba (11.25 g/cm )
2 2
chlorophyll b (Figure 1.7) of studied plant
also have higher values for Total carotenoids. species are showing a statistically good
Usually, carotenoids have a tendency to correlation between them with the value of
being increased in leaves along the amplified r2=0.854. Similarly, the curve between Total
light intensity (Valladars, 2000). So, it chlorophyll and Total carotenoids (Figure
is revealing that these plants are receiving the 1.8) of studied plant species is also showing
high light intensity and authenticating the the correlation between them with the value
arid climatic condition of the studied region. of r2=0.702. This is giving an interpretation
The two indices chlorophyll/carotenoids ratio that plant pigments found in leaves are inter-
and chlorophyll a/b ratio are very useful for dependent on each other. Therefore, pigment
the study of environmental stress (Engin and concentration and functioning are contingent
Sprent 1973, Morilla, 1973). The curve with coexisting pigments.
between Total chlorophyll/Total carotenoids The curves between Chlorophyll a and Total
ratio and sampling plant species (Figure 1.5) carotenoids (Figure 1.9) is showing a
is showing that Salvadora persica has the statistically significant correlation with the
highest value of this index (6.46). It is giving value of r2=0.728 and curve between
an interpretation that this plant is under the Chlorophyll b and Total carotenoids (Figure
stress or alteration in the activity of enzyme 1.10) is showing a statistically less
system. The chlorophyll/carotenoids ratio is significant correlation with the value of
falling between 2.688 to 6.464 in studied r2=0.593. Therefore, the values of correlation
plant species. Remarkable, these sampling coefficients (r) are resulting, that the
plant species have wide breadth for this index concentration of chlorophyll a in foliar tissue
Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 

is much related with a linear mathematical 80


regression model to Total carotenoids,


instead of chlorophyll b concentration

Total Chlorophyll

because carotenoids pigmentation is showing 40

much affinity with Chlorophyll a. It is 30


interesting to note that in general trends of


pigmentation in arid and sub-arid plant 0

A. ma rme los A. le bbe e k B. monospe rma C. dic ot ma F. be nga le nsis M. ole if e ra S . pe r sic a T. undula t a Z. jujuba Z. nummula ria

species of Northern Rajasthan, Chlorophyll a Sampling plant species

is considerably affecting the concentration of Figure 1.3 Showing distribution of Total Chlorophyll
Total carotenoids or vice versa. in different plant species

The curves between chlorophyll a and Total 14


chlorophylls/Total Carotenoids ratio (Figure 10

Total Carotenoids
1.11) and curve between Chlorophyll b and 8

Total chlorophylls/Total Carotenoids ratio 6

(Figure 1.12) are also showing some 4

statistically significant correlations among 0

them with value of r2 viz.–0.671, 0.740.

A. ma rme los A. le bbe e k B. monospe rma C. dic ot ma F. be nga le nsis M. ole ife ra S . pe rsic a T. undula t a Z. jujuba Z. nummula ria

Sampling plant species

These values are also concluding similar Figure 1.4 Showing distribution of Total carotenoids
results that pigmentations in foliar tissue are in different plant species
interdependent with each other. 7

60 6

50 5
C h lo ro p h yll/ Caro t.

Chlorophyll a




A. marmelos A. lebbeek B. monospe rma C. dicotma F. bengalensis M. oleifera S. persica T. undulata Z. jujuba Z. nummularia
A. marmelos A. lebbeek B. monosperma C. dicot ma F. bengalensis M. oleife ra S . persica T. undulat a Z. jujuba Z. nummularia
Sampling plant species Sampling plant species

Figure 1.1 Showing distribution of Chlorophyll a in Figure 1.5 Showing distribution of Total Chlorophyll/
different plant species Total carotenoids ratio in different plant species


25 3
Chlorophyll a/b

20 2.5
Chlorophyll b




A. marm elos A. lebbeek B. m onospe rma C. dicotma F. bengalensis M. oleif era S. persica T. undulata Z. jujuba Z. numm ular ia
Sampling plant species A. ma rme los A. le bbe e k B. monospe rma C. dic ot ma F. be nga le nsis M. ole ife ra S . pe rsic a T. undula t a Z. jujuba Z. nummula ria

Sampling plant species

Figure 1.2 Showing distribution of Chlorophyll b in
different plant species
Figure 1.6 Showing distribution of chlorophyll a/b
ratio in different plant species
Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 


24 12


Total Carotenoids
C hlorophy ll b




0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28
Chlo ro phyll b

Figure 1.10 Showing correlation between Chlorophyll
10 15 20 25 30
Chlorophyll a
35 40 45
b and Total Carotenoids with value of r2= 0.593

Figure 1.7 Showing correlation between Chlorophyll a 6.6

and Chlorophyll b with value of r2= 0.854 6


Total Chl./Carot.
14.4 4.8




T o t a l C a ro t e n oid s

10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Chlo ro phyll a

Figure 1.11 Showing correlation between Chlorophyll
7.2 a and Total Chl./Total Carot. with value of r2= 0.671

4.8 6

24 32 40 48 56 64 72 5.4
Total Chl./ Total Carot.

Total Chlorophyll


Figure 1.8 showing correlation between Total Chlorophyll 3.6

and Total Carotenoids with value of r2= 0.702 3


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28
13.2 Chlo ro phyll b

Figure 1.12 Showing correlation between Chlorophyll
b and Total Chl./Total Carot. with value of r2= 0.740
T o t a l C a ro t e n o id s

9.6 6.6

Total Chl./ Total Carot.





10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Chlorophyll a
1.2 1.6 2 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.6 4
Chlo ro phyll a/b

Figure 1.9 showing correlation between Chlorophyll a Figure 1.13 Showing correlation between Chlorophyll a/b
and Total Carotenoids with value of r2= 0.728 and Total Chl./Total Carot. with value of r2= -0.241

Malhotra & Madan/Vol. VIII [1] 2017/224 – 231 

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