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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Magnetic Emissions from Brake Wear are the Major Source of Airborne Particulate Matter Bioaccumulated by Lichens Exposed in Milan (Italy)

1
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, 00143 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
3
Centro Servizi Metrologici e Tecnologici Avanzati, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Napoli, Italy
4
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Napoli, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 2073; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10062073
Received: 21 February 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 11 March 2020 / Published: 19 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology)
The concentration of selected trace elements and the magnetic properties of samples of the lichen Evernia prunastri exposed for 3 months in Milan (Italy) were investigated to test if magnetic properties can be used as a proxy for the bioaccumulation of chemical elements in airborne particulate matter. Magnetic analysis showed intense properties driven by magnetite-like minerals, leading to significant correlations between magnetic susceptibility and the concentration of Fe, Cr, Cu, and Sb. Selected magnetic particles were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscope and Energy Dispersion System microanalyses, and their composition, morphology and grain size supported their anthropogenic, non-exhaust origin. The overall combination of chemical, morphoscopic and magnetic analyses strongly suggested that brake abrasion from vehicles is the main source of the airborne particles accumulated by lichens. It is concluded that magnetic susceptibility is an excellent parameter for a simple, rapid and cost-effective characterization of atmospheric trace metal pollution using lichens. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic biomonitoring; particulate matter; lichen transplants; brake wear; urban air pollution magnetic biomonitoring; particulate matter; lichen transplants; brake wear; urban air pollution
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Winkler, A.; Contardo, T.; Vannini, A.; Sorbo, S.; Basile, A.; Loppi, S. Magnetic Emissions from Brake Wear are the Major Source of Airborne Particulate Matter Bioaccumulated by Lichens Exposed in Milan (Italy). Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 2073.

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