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Usefulness of different vascular plant species for passive biomonitoring of Mediterranean rivers

Baldantoni, Daniela, Alfani, Anna
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.14 pp. 13907-13917
Angelica, Apium nodiflorum, Arctium lappa, Nasturtium officinale, Persicaria lapathifolia, Tradescantia fluminensis, Typha latifolia, anthropogenic activities, atomic absorption spectrometry, cadmium, chromium, climate, copper, hydrology, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, nickel, potassium, rivers, roots, sodium, toxicity, vanadium, vascular plants, vines, zinc, Italy
Choosing native vascular plants as nutrient and toxic element accumulators for passive biomonitoring of urban river quality is not an easy task in Mediterranean rivers, due to the particular climate determining high variations in river hydrology. To identify potential biomonitors for this area, the roots of seven species (Angelica sylvestris, Apium nodiflorum, Tradescantia fluminensis, Nasturtium officinale, Persicaria lapathifolia, Arctium lappa, Typha latifolia), growing in seven sites along the River Irno (Southern Italy), were collected in July 2010 and analyzed regarding their capability to accumulate Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn through atomic absorption spectrometry. Notwithstanding the expected different accumulation degree among the species, they highlighted similar spatial contamination gradients, and all of them appeared suitable, alone or in combination, for river passive biomonitoring. A. nodiflorum, in particular, appeared the best biomonitor for the River Irno, where severe anthropogenic impacts were detected: high Cu and Cd contamination from vine cultivation in the upper stretch, and Pb, Zn, and Mn contamination in the medium stretch from airborne dusts coming from a cast iron foundry.