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Magnetic- and particle-based techniques to investigate metal deposition on urban green

Castanheiro, Ana, Samson, Roeland, De Wael, Karolien
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.571 pp. 594-602
Hedera helix, cadmium, chromium, copper, elemental composition, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, forests, iron, land use, lead, leaves, manganese, pollution, scanning electron microscopy, zinc
Urban green works as a recorder of atmospheric PM. This paper reports on the utility of combining magnetic- and particle-based techniques to investigate PM leaf deposition as a bio-indicator of metal pollution. Ivy (Hedera helix) leaves were collected from five different land use classes, i.e. forest, rural, roadside, industrial, train. Leaf magnetic measurements were done in terms of saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (leaf SIRM), while ca. 40,000 leaf-deposited particles were analyzed through SEM/EDX to estimate the elemental composition. The influence of the different land use classes was registered both magnetically and in terms of metal content. Leaf area-normalized SIRM values ranged from 19.9 to 444.0μA, in the following order forest<rural<roadside<industrial<train. Leaf SIRM showed to be significantly correlated (p<0.01) with the content in Fe, Zn, and Pb, followed by Mn and Cd (p<0.05), while no significant correlation was found with the metals Cr and Cu. Although presenting a similar metal content, roadside and train were magnetically very distinct. By exhibiting a very high content in Pb, and with an Fe content being comparable to the one observed at the forest and rural land uses, the industrial leaf-deposited particles showed to be mainly due to industrial activity. While SEM/EDX is a suitable approach for detailed particle analysis, leaf SIRM of ivy can be used as a rapid discriminatory tool for metal pollution. Their complementary use delivers further knowledge on land use classes reflecting different PM conditions and/or sources.