Main content area

Ricinus communis as an Element Biomonitor of Atmospheric Pollution in Urban Areas

Bonanno, Giuseppe
Water, air, and soil pollution 2014 v.225 no.2 pp. 1852
Ricinus communis, aluminum, arsenic, atmosphere, biofuels, cadmium, castor oil, chromium, fruits, lead, leaves, manganese, nickel, pollutants, urban areas, zinc, Italy
Leaves and fruits of Ricinus communis (castor oil plant) were studied as potential biomonitors of atmospheric pollution in urban areas. The concentrations of Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn were analyzed in samples collected in the city of Catania (Italy) and compared with a pristine area. This study showed that the fruits of R. communis act as better biomonitors of element concentrations in the atmosphere as compared to the leaves. In particular, this pattern was evident for Cu, Pb, and Zn, typical atmospheric pollutants. Fruits proved especially sensitive to Pb accumulation; thus, all products derived from them, such as castor oil and biofuels, should be obtained in places where the exposure to Pb is low to avoid potential contamination. The plant R. communis seems a promising species as a biomonitor of atmospheric pollution, and given its wide distribution, may be used for large-scale networks of biomonitoring.