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Environ Pollut. 2012 Mar;162:48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.09.029. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Preliminary insights into δ15N and δ18O of nitrate in natural mosses: a new application of the denitrifier method.

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State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, China.


Natural mosses have been employed as reactive and accumulative indicators of atmospheric pollutants. Using the denitrifier method, the concentration, δ(15)N and δ(18)O of moss nitrate (NO(3)(-)) were measured to elucidate the sources of NO(3)(-) trapped in natural mosses. Oven drying at 55-70 °C, not lyophilization, was recommended to dry mosses for NO(3)(-) analyses. An investigation from urban to mountain sites in western Tokyo suggested that moss [NO(3)(-)] can respond to NO(3)(-) availability in different habitats. NO(3)(-) in terricolous mosses showed isotopic ratios as close to those of soil NO(3)(-), reflecting the utilization of soil NO(3)(-). Isotopic signatures of NO(3)(-) in corticolous and epilithic mosses elucidated atmospheric NO(3)(-) sources and strength from the urban (vehicle NO(x) emission) to mountain area (wet-deposition NO(3)(-)). However, mechanisms and isotopic effects of moss NO(3)(-) utilization must be further verified to enable the application of moss NO(3)(-) isotopes for source identification.

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