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Different Heavy Metal Accumulation Strategies of Epilithic Lichens Colonising Artificial Post-Smelting Wastes

Rola, Kaja, Osyczka, Piotr, Kafel, Alina
Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 2016 v.70 no.2 pp. 418-428
Candelariella, Lecanora, Lecidea, Stereocaulon, adhesion, bioaccumulation factor, cadmium, heavy metals, lead, lichens, nickel, regression analysis, slags, thallus, wastes, zinc
Lichens appear to be essential and effective colonisers of bare substrates including the extremely contaminated wastes of slag dumps. This study examines the metal accumulation capacity of epilithic lichens growing directly on the surface of artificial slag sinters. Four species representing different growth forms, i.e., crustose Candelariella aurella, Lecanora muralis, and Lecidea fuscoatra and fruticose Stereocaulon nanodes, were selected to evaluate the relationships between zinc, lead, cadmium, and nickel contents in their thalli and host substrates. Bioaccumulation factors of examined crustose lichens showed their propensity to hyperaccumulate heavy metals. Contrarily, concentrations of metals in fruticose thalli of S. nanodes were, as a rule, lower than in the corresponding substrates. This indicates that the growth form of thalli and degree of thallus adhesion to the substrate has a significant impact on metal concentrations in lichens colonising post-smelting wastes. Nonlinear regression models described by power functions show that at greater levels of Pb concentration in the substrate, the ability of C. aurella, L. muralis and L. fuscoatra to accumulate the metal experiences a relative decrease, whereas hyperbolic function describes a similar trend in relation to Ni content in S. nanodes. This phenomenon may be an important attribute of lichens that facilitates their colonisation of the surface of slag wastes.