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Chemosphere. 2006 Oct;65(2):177-82. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Assessment of airborne heavy metal pollution by aboveground plant parts.

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Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Seville, Adva. Reina Mercedes s/n, Apto de Correo 1095, E-41080 Seville, Spain.


Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) and oleander (Nerium oleander L.) leaves, bark and wood samples were collected at different sites around an industrial area (Huelva, SW Spain) and compared with samples of the same species from a background site. Samples were analysed with respect to the following pollutants: Al, Ba, Cr, Cu, Fe and Pb by ICP-AES. The suitability of different plant parts as biomonitors of pollution was investigated. In pine samples from the polluted sites the ratio of concentrations between bark and wood was high for Al, Ba, Cu and Fe, whereas no differences were found in samples from the unpolluted area. No differences were detected in oleander for the same ratio. In the oleander species, the ratio between leaves and wood concentration allowed to distinguish between control and polluted sites. The ratio of the concentration between leaves and wood was elevated for Al, Ba and Fe in pine samples from the polluted sites. The ratio of the concentration in bark or leaves to their concentration in wood might be useful to detect inorganic atmospheric pollutants.

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