Active Biomonitoring of Heavy Metals and PAHs with Mosses and Lichens: a Case Study in the Cities of Naples and London

Vingiani, S., De Nicola, F., Purvis, W. O., Concha-Graña, E.,Muniategui-Lorenzo, S., López-Mahía, P., Giordano, S., Adamo, P.(2015). Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 226 (8), 226-240. DOI: 10.1007/s11270-015-2504-5.

                                                                                Mosses and lichens are widely used to detect changes in the environmental concentrations of potential contaminants. Several studies have shown the usefulness of transplanted mosses and/or lichens to monitor air depositions of inorganic and organic pollutants at different scales. Here, we present the results of a biomonitoring study carried out in two cities, London (United Kingdom) and Naples (Italy), using four biomonitors (two lichens and two mosses). The lichens, Pseudevernia furfuracea (L.) Zopf var. furfuracea and Parmelia sulcata Taylor, and mosses, Sphagnum capillifolium (Ehrh.) Hedw. and Hypnum cupressiforme Hedw., were exposed in bags in urban streets of Naples and London and in semi-rural and rural areas. Samples were analysed for Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, V and Zn by atomic absorption spectrometry after acid digestion and for 16 EPA polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry after matrix solid-phase dispersion. For heavy metals, the comparison between the selected mosses indicated that, in all exposure sites, S. capillifolium had a better accumulation performance than H. cupressiforme, whereas for the lichens, it was P. furfuracea which accumulated higher concentrations of metals. Also for total PAHs, S. capillifolium showed a good accumulation capability compared to the other biomonitors investigated, especially compared to H. cupressiforme. It was observed an increasing heavy metal and PAH uptake by biomonitors from rural to urban sites, in both cities.