Bioindicators in Air Pollution Monitoring

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Pollution Control".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2024) | Viewed by 1687

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare (DiSTeM), Università degli Studi di Palermo, 90123 Palermo, Italy
Interests: biomonitoring; trace elements; pollen; applied botany
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of cosmopolite organisms to assess pollution has developed notably over the last few decades. Bioindicators include biological processes, species, or communities and are used to assess the quality of the environment and how it changes over time. Changes in the environment are often attributed to anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., pollution and land-use changes) and natural stressors, although anthropogenic stressors form the primary focus of bioindicator research. Such organisms consume environmental contaminants and may be used as indicators of the bioavailability of a given contaminant over time, allowing, in certain cases, comparisons to be made between contamination levels in different areas. The advantage of this method is that it’s simple and low cost, which would be impossible with conventional analyses using automatic measuring devices. Plants are particularly useful as biological indicators to evaluate air pollution because of their wide distribution and low sampling cost. Mosses and lichens have also been recognized as the most appropriate biomonitors of atmospheric heavy metals. Additionally, trees are very efficient at trapping atmospheric particles, mostly on their foliage. The concentrations of metal and metalloids in plants depend on root uptake and dry and wet depositions on outer plant organs such as foliage or bark. Therefore, the elemental analysis of plant samples has, for many years, been an alternative, easy, and effective way of conducting ecological investigations in urban areas. The method of assessing air pollution by using bioindicators is not only in constant and widespread use, but it is also continuously being developed.

This Special Issue of the journal "Atmosphere" focuses on the current state of knowledge of air pollution in anthropized and natural areas, to determine the concentrations of the main pollutants, model their spatial distributions and identify their sources, measuring their concentrations through the use of bioindicators.

New research papers, reviews, case report, and conference papers are welcome to this Special Issue.

Dr. Maria Grazia Alaimo
Dr. Daniela Varrica
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • bioindicators
  • biological monitoring
  • air pollution
  • environmental impact assessment
  • air quality
  • biomonitoring

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 37824 KiB  
Article
A Fuzzy-Based Analysis of Air Particle Pollution Data: An Index IMC for Magnetic Biomonitoring
by Mauro A. E. Chaparro, Marcos A. E. Chaparro and Daniela A. Molinari
Atmosphere 2024, 15(4), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos15040435 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 423
Abstract
Airborne magnetic particles may be harmful because of their composition, morphology, and association with potentially toxic elements that may be observed through relationships between magnetic parameters and pollution indices, such as the Tomlinson pollution load index (PLI). We present a fuzzy-based analysis of [...] Read more.
Airborne magnetic particles may be harmful because of their composition, morphology, and association with potentially toxic elements that may be observed through relationships between magnetic parameters and pollution indices, such as the Tomlinson pollution load index (PLI). We present a fuzzy-based analysis of magnetic biomonitoring data from four Latin American cities, which allows us to construct a magnetic index of contamination (IMC). This IMC uses four magnetic parameters, i.e., magnetic susceptibility χ, saturation isothermal remanent magnetization SIRM, coercivity of remanence Hcr, and SIRM/χ, and proposes summarizing the information to assess an area based exclusively on magnetic parameters more easily. The fuzzy inference system membership functions are built from the standardization of the data to become independent of the values. The proposed IMC is calculated using the baseline values for each case study, similar to the PLI. The highest IMC values were obtained in sites close to industrial areas, and in contrast, the lowest ones were observed in residential areas far from avenues or highways. The linear regression model between modeled IMC and PLI data yielded robust correlations of R2 > 0.85. The IMC is proposed as a complementary tool for air particle pollution and is a cost-effective magnetic approach for monitoring areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioindicators in Air Pollution Monitoring)
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14 pages, 10774 KiB  
Article
Influence of Saharan Dust on the Composition of Urban Aerosols in Palermo City (Italy)
by Daniela Varrica and Maria Grazia Alaimo
Atmosphere 2024, 15(3), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos15030254 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 725
Abstract
The Mediterranean Basin is involved in a recurring phenomenon wherein air masses laden with dust from North Africa impact the southern regions of the European continent. Saharan dust has been associated with increased mortality and respiratory symptoms. Palermo is a large coastal city, [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Basin is involved in a recurring phenomenon wherein air masses laden with dust from North Africa impact the southern regions of the European continent. Saharan dust has been associated with increased mortality and respiratory symptoms. Palermo is a large coastal city, and in addition to the impact of desert dust particles, it has a mixture of anthropogenic sources of pollutants. In this study, we collected Saharan dust samples during August 2022 and October 2023, following a high-intensity Saharan dust event, and measured concentrations of 33 major and trace elements as well as Rare Earth Elements (REE). The mineralogical characterization of the deposition dust collected during Saharan events revealed calcite, dolomite, quartz, and clay minerals. The presence of palygorskite is indicative of Saharan events. Seven elements (Ca, Mg, Al, Ti, Fe, K, and Na) account for 98% of the total analyzed inorganic burden. Elemental ratios are valuable tools in atmospheric sciences for estimating sources of air masses. The results highlight that the city of Palermo is mainly affected by dust from the north-western Sahara. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioindicators in Air Pollution Monitoring)
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