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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Nov;22(22):17799-809. doi: 10.1007/s11356-015-4998-1. Epub 2015 Jul 11.

Potential of Opuntia ficus-indica for air pollution biomonitoring: a lead isotopic study.

Author information

1
Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (UMR CNRS-UPS 5563 IRD 234), University of Toulouse (Paul Sabatier), 14 Av. Edouard Belin, 31400, Toulouse, France. elianehayek@hotmail.fr.
2
Plateforme de Recherche et d'Analyses en Sciences de l'Environnement, Ecole Doctorale des Sciences et Technologies, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon. elianehayek@hotmail.fr.
3
Plateforme de Recherche et d'Analyses en Sciences de l'Environnement, Ecole Doctorale des Sciences et Technologies, Lebanese University, Hadath, Lebanon.
4
Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (UMR CNRS-UPS 5563 IRD 234), University of Toulouse (Paul Sabatier), 14 Av. Edouard Belin, 31400, Toulouse, France.

Abstract

Opuntia ficus-indica (Ofi) is a long-domesticated cactus that is widespread throughout arid and semiarid regions. Ofi is grown for both its fruits and edible cladodes, which are flattened photosynthetic stems. Young cladodes develop from mother cladodes, thus forming series of cladodes of different ages. Therefore, successive cladodes may hold some potential for biomonitoring over several years the local atmospheric pollution. In this study, cladodes, roots, dust deposited onto the cladodes, and soil samples were collected in the vicinity of three heavily polluted sites, i.e., a fertilizer industry, the road side of a highway, and mine tailings. The lead content was analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) was used to characterize the cladode surfaces and the nature of dust deposit, and the lead isotopes were analyzed to identify the origin of Pb. The results show that (i) Ofi readily bioaccumulates Pb, (ii) the lead isotopic composition of cladodes evidences a foliar pathway of lead into Ofi and identifies the relative contributions of local Pb sources, and (iii) an evolution of air quality is recorded with successive cladodes, which makes Ofi a potential biomonitor to be used in environmental and health studies.

KEYWORDS:

Atmospheric deposit; Biomonitoring; Lead isotopes; Opuntia ficus-indica; SEM-EDX

PMID:
26160126
DOI:
10.1007/s11356-015-4998-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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