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Tillandsia usneoides as biomonitors of trace elements contents in the atmosphere of the mining district of Cartagena-La Unión (Spain): New insights for element transfer and pollution source tracing.

08:00 EDT 25th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Tillandsia usneoides as biomonitors of trace elements contents in the atmosphere of the mining district of Cartagena-La Unión (Spain): New insights for element transfer and pollution source tracing."

Nowadays, atmospheric pollution has a major impact on the human health and the environment, encouraging the development of biomonitors of the air quality over a wide zone. In this study, the relevance of the epiphyte plants Tillandsia usneoides is studied to estimate the transfer of metal(loid)s from a former Zn and Pb mining zone in the Southeast of Spain (Cartagena-La Unión) to the local atmosphere. Biomonitoring was performed by installing plants in 5 sites along a transect from the main mining area to the urban and the coastal zones. An aliquot of plants was collected in every site every 2 months over 1 year. The Tillandsia usneoides have been observed with SEM-EDX, and analysed by ICP-MS to determine trace element concentrations, magnetic susceptibility signals and Zn and Pb isotopes ratios. Results show that atmospheric particles are distributed homogeneously at the plant surface. By comparing elemental contents in Tillandsia usneoides with regard to the values of the geochemical background of the region of Murcia, significant enrichments are observed in the epiphyte plants for Sb, As, Cd, Zn and Pb. The statistical analyses (decentred PCA and PLS) also suggest that the kinetics of dust deposition is slower for the urban and coastal sites compared to the mining sites and highlight an influence of agricultural activities in Cu deposition. The similarity of isotopic compositions (Zn and Pb) between Tillandsia usneoides, soils and atmospheric particles also put in evidence that these plants could be a powerful tool to trace the source of matter in the atmosphere. Finally, this experiment provides new insight to better understand the foliar absorption mechanisms.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Chemosphere
ISSN: 1879-1298
Pages: 124955

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