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Evernia Goes to School: Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals and Photosynthetic Performance in Lichen Transplants Exposed Indoors and Outdoors in Public and Private Environments

1
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via L Ghini, 13-56126 Pisa, Italy
2
Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská Cesta, 9-84523 Bratislava, Slovakia
3
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, Via PA Mattioli, 4-53100 Siena, Italy
4
Spojená škola Tilgnerova, 714/14 Karlova Ves, 84105 Bratislava, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(5), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8050125
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Ecology)
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Abstract

Recently indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a key issue, especially in schools, where children spend most of the day. Only in a few cases IAQ was investigated using lichens as biomonitors. During autumn 2017, lichens (Evernia prunastri) were exposed for two months indoors and outdoors in public (schools) and private (dwellings) environments, in both rural and urban areas of Slovakia. The bioaccumulation of selected elements and the physiological status of the samples were considered. The content of heavy metals increased in samples exposed outdoors for 11 out of 12 elements (Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, S, Sb, V and Zn, but not Ca) in the urban area and for 5 (As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Sb) in the rural area. Indoor concentrations were overall similar, both in rural and urban buildings, independently of the outdoor conditions. An indoor accumulation occurred only for Cd, Cu and Pb. An indoor origin was suggested for Cd, while for Cu and Pb, outdoor penetration (car traffic) is the likely cause of indoor values. Indoor exposed lichens maintained their vitality (as reflected by chlorophyll a fluorescence emission). This latter result further supports the use of lichen biomonitoring as a suitable method for assessing IAQ. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomonitoring; chlorophyll fluorescence; citizen science; Evernia prunastri; exposed to control ratio; indoor pollution biomonitoring; chlorophyll fluorescence; citizen science; Evernia prunastri; exposed to control ratio; indoor pollution
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Paoli, L.; Fačkovcová, Z.; Guttová, A.; Maccelli, C.; Kresáňová, K.; Loppi, S. Evernia Goes to School: Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals and Photosynthetic Performance in Lichen Transplants Exposed Indoors and Outdoors in Public and Private Environments. Plants 2019, 8, 125.

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