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J Environ Sci (China). 2010;22(7):1073-9.

Delonix regia and Casuarina equisetifolia as passive biomonitors and as bioaccumulators of atmospheric trace metals.

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Air Pollution Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Benin, Nigeria.


The suitability of two common and ubiquitously distributed and exotic ornamental plant species in Nigeria-Delonix regia and Casuarina equisetifolia as biomonitors and as effective bioaccumulators of atmospheric trace metals (Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu) has been evaluated. Bark and leaf samples from these plant species were collected in June and July 2006 at five locations in Benin City. Four of the sampling sites were in areas of high traffic density and commercial activities, the fifth site is a remote site, selected to act as a control and also to provide background information for the metals. The plant samples were collected and processed using standard procedures and trace metals were determined using atomic absorption spectrometer. The bark of the plants was able to bioaccumulate the trace metals, especially Pb which originates from anthropogenic contributions in the city. The Pb range of 20.00-70.00 microg/g measured for the bark samples of D. regia, exceeded the normal plant Pb concentration of 0.2-20.0 microg/g and most Pb data available in literature. The bark of the plants was observed to accumulate more metals compared to the leave, while D. regia was found to be slightly better than C. equisetifolia in trace metal uptake efficiency. Spatial variations in the distributions of Pb and Zn were significant (p < 0.05), and the continuous use of leaded fuel in Nigeria was identified as the predominant source of Pb in the atmosphere.

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