Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 April 2023) | Viewed by 16028

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Guest Editor
Institute of Chemistry for Energy, Environment and Health, University of Strasbourg/CNRS (ICPEES UMR 7515), Rue Becquerel 25, CEDEX 3, 67087 Strasbourg, France
Interests: air quality; passive sampling; organic pollutants; aerosols; biomonitoring
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Air pollution involves a variety of contaminants issued from natural and synthetic sources and formed by the photochemical transformation process, including metals, volatile and non-volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and gaseous products. Each of these can induce harmful effects on human health and the environment. The evaluation of air pollution is a challenge due to its importance for human health and the environment in general. The direct measurement of environmental contaminants needs a specific sampling method as well as a precise analytical procedure in order to collect and detect the total amount of emitted pollutants. Although the use of active sampling for environmental monitoring was the method of choice for many years due to its accuracy and efficiency, it suffers from many drawbacks—leading to the development and use of passive samplers. Among all passive samplers, the use of natural species remains the most efficient due to its availability, efficiency, and sensitivity to accumulated pollutants.

In this Special Issue, reviews or original research papers devoted to the use of biomonitors for the evaluation of air pollution can be submitted for potential publication.

All types of biomonitors (mosses, trees, needles, tree barks, snails, bees, honey, etc.) and pollutants (metals, volatile organic compounds, organic pollutants including POPS, pesticides, etc.) can be considered in terms of methodology, analytical development, long-duration studies, surveys, comparisons with other techniques (like active sampling), comparison between biomonitors, etc.

We look forward to receiving your submission.

Dr. Maurice Millet
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • biomonitoring
  • air quality
  • metals
  • semi-volatiles organic compounds
  • volatile organic compounds
  • needles
  • snails
  • mosses
  • tree barks

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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9 pages, 3434 KiB  
Communication
Comparison of Lichens and Mosses as Biomonitors of Airborne Microplastics
by Mehriban Jafarova, Lisa Grifoni, Julian Aherne and Stefano Loppi
Atmosphere 2023, 14(6), 1007; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14061007 - 10 Jun 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3052
Abstract
The atmosphere is an important pathway for microplastic (MP) transport; however, observations are limited, as traditional sampling methods are generally labor-intensive. Biological monitors (biomonitors) have been widely used as a simple alternative to determine the abundance or presence of anthropogenic pollutants. Here, we [...] Read more.
The atmosphere is an important pathway for microplastic (MP) transport; however, observations are limited, as traditional sampling methods are generally labor-intensive. Biological monitors (biomonitors) have been widely used as a simple alternative to determine the abundance or presence of anthropogenic pollutants. Here, we compared the effectiveness of co-located lichen and moss species as biomonitors of the atmospheric deposition of microplastics. Samples of the epiphytic lichen Evernia prunastri and the epigeic moss Pseudoscleropodium purum were collected from five remote areas of central Italy. A total of 154 MPs were found across all samples, 93.5% of which were fibers and 6.5% were fragments. The accumulation of MPs for lichens (range of 8–12 MP/g) was significantly lower than for mosses (12–17 MP/g), which might be related to their structural characteristics or habitat positions (epiphytic versus epigeic). Nonetheless, higher accumulation facilitates analytical determination and provides greater separation from the limit of detection, suggesting that mosses are preferred over lichens for studying the deposition of airborne MPs. This study further suggests that biomonitoring may be an effective tool to assess the spatial distribution of atmospheric microplastics, which is a key requirement for the development of waste mitigation policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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14 pages, 2104 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Trace Element Deposition in Cupressus macrocarpa Leaves and Soils from a High-Pollution Area in the Puchuncaví Valley (Chile) Using a Biomonitoring Method
by Tamara Gorena, Franco Sandoval, Ximena Fadic and Francisco Cereceda-Balic
Atmosphere 2023, 14(5), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14050893 - 20 May 2023
Viewed by 1201
Abstract
Located in the Puchuncaví Valley (PV) in central Chile is one of the most important and oldest industrial complexes (ICs) in the country. The PV is affected by anthropogenic emissions from the IC where the most important industry is a copper smelter and [...] Read more.
Located in the Puchuncaví Valley (PV) in central Chile is one of the most important and oldest industrial complexes (ICs) in the country. The PV is affected by anthropogenic emissions from the IC where the most important industry is a copper smelter and refinery. In this context, this study assessed the profile, concentration, and enrichment factors of the trace elements, both in the soil and in Cupressus macrocarpa leaves from this high-pollution-load area. The soil and leaf samples were taken from five selected sites, located between 0.8 and 15 km away from the IC. A total of 24 elements were analyzed by ICP-MS and examined by enrichment factor (EF), and PCA source analysis. Leaf concentrations of Ba, Ca, Cd, Cu, K, and Sr showed statistically significant differences between sampling sites (p-value < 0.05). In soil, element concentrations of Al, As, Ba, Cr, Cu, K, Li Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, and Ti showed statistically significant differences between sampling sites (p-value < 0.05). The source analysis of EFs in the samples of both soil and leaves detected three and four factors, respectively, related mainly to the industrial complex’s copper smelter and refinery, coal-fired power plants, and geogenic sources. According to the PCA, the leaf EFs of anthropogenic elements from copper smelting showed that La Greda (LG, site closest to the IC) was significantly enriched in the elements Cu, Zn, As, Mo, and Pb, while the EF in the soil from LG showed high enrichment in Cu and significant enrichment in Pb. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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14 pages, 6017 KiB  
Article
Magnetic Assessment of Transplanted Tillandsia spp.: Biomonitors of Air Particulate Matter for High Rainfall Environments
by Daniela Buitrago Posada, Marcos A. E. Chaparro and José F. Duque-Trujillo
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020213 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1659
Abstract
Complementary methodologies in air quality monitoring, such as magnetic biomonitoring, are currently implemented since atmospheric particle pollution is a relevant problem for human health and ecosystems. We carried out magnetic biomonitoring using transplanted species of Tillandsia recurvata and T. usneoides to study their [...] Read more.
Complementary methodologies in air quality monitoring, such as magnetic biomonitoring, are currently implemented since atmospheric particle pollution is a relevant problem for human health and ecosystems. We carried out magnetic biomonitoring using transplanted species of Tillandsia recurvata and T. usneoides to study their retention capacity of airborne magnetic particles AMP, the influence of precipitation, and magnetic properties. Plants of both epiphytic species were exposed for two, three and twelve months under uncovered and covered rain exposure conditions. The mass-specific magnetic susceptibility χ increases for both species over time, mean (s.d.) values of χ = 6.1 (6.4)–47.9 (37.6) × 10−8 m3 kg−1. The comparison of χ between exposure conditions suggests an insignificant rainfall influence on the accumulation/loss of magnetic particles in the studied plants. Magnetic parameters, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy indicate the presence of magnetite and Fe-rich particles with sizes between <0.1 and 5 µm, a harmful particle category to human health. It is concluded that both species of the genus Tillandsia are efficient biological indicators of AMP and convenient for air particle pollution assessment in high-precipitation environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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23 pages, 1538 KiB  
Article
Usage of Needle and Branches in the Applications of Bioindicator, Source Apportionment and Risk Assessment of PAHs
by Sevil Caliskan Eleren and Yücel Tasdemir
Atmosphere 2022, 13(11), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13111938 - 21 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1610
Abstract
Biomonitoring studies have enormous benefits providing a fruitful and cost-efficient means of measuring environmental exposure to toxic chemicals. This study collected ambient air and pine tree components, including needles and 1-year-old and 2-year-old branches, for one year. Concentrations, potential sources and temporal variations [...] Read more.
Biomonitoring studies have enormous benefits providing a fruitful and cost-efficient means of measuring environmental exposure to toxic chemicals. This study collected ambient air and pine tree components, including needles and 1-year-old and 2-year-old branches, for one year. Concentrations, potential sources and temporal variations of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated. In general, lower concentration levels were observed in the warmer months. Ambient PAHs pose a serious public health threat and impose a need for calculating cancer risks. It was also intended to define the best tree component reflecting the ambient air PAHs. The consideration of the representative tree component minimizes the unnecessary laboratory processes and expenses in biomonitoring studies. The coefficient of divergence (COD), diagnostic ratio (DR) and principal component analysis (PCA) were employed to specify the PAH sources. As a result of the DR and PCA evaluations, the effect of the industrial area has emerged, besides the dominance of the pollutants originating from traffic and combustion. The results have shown that pine needles and branches were mainly affected by similar sources, which also influenced air concentrations. Inhalation cancer risk values were also calculated and they varied between 1.64 × 10−6 and 3.02 × 10−5. A potential risk increases in the colder season depending on the ambient air PAH concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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15 pages, 2350 KiB  
Article
Lichen Biodiversity Index (LBI) for the Assessment of Air Quality in an Industrial City in Pahang, Malaysia
by Azlan Abas, Nur Hakimah Asnawi, Kadaruddin Aiyub, Azahan Awang and Siti Rodziah Abdullah
Atmosphere 2022, 13(11), 1905; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13111905 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3369
Abstract
Lichen is a well-documented useful biological indicator for monitoring air pollution using various methods such as the biodiversity of lichens. However, the use of lichen biodiversity to estimate air pollution levels in industrial areas, particularly in Malaysia, is still weak, and the determinants [...] Read more.
Lichen is a well-documented useful biological indicator for monitoring air pollution using various methods such as the biodiversity of lichens. However, the use of lichen biodiversity to estimate air pollution levels in industrial areas, particularly in Malaysia, is still weak, and the determinants of its diversity are unknown. As a result, the purpose of this research is to analyse air pollution in Malaysia’s industrial urban area using the lichen biodiversity index and its determining factor. This research was carried out at Gebeng, Pahang, Malaysia. A total of 14 sample locations were chosen, each with three replication stations. The Lichen Biodiversity Index (LBI) approach was employed in this study to estimate the degree of air pollution in Gebeng. This study also investigated three potential determinants of lichen biodiversity: carbon monoxide (CO) concentration, relative humidity (%), and vehicle motor frequency (per hour). The LBI was plotted and analysed using the Geographical Information System (GIS) programme ArcGIS 10.8.1, and the determining variables were identified using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient software PAST 4.03. This study discovered a total of 11 lichen species known as metropolitan lichen. The average LBI across Gebeng is 19.5 (moderate alteration). In the industrial region, CO has an inversely significant relation with lichen biodiversity (r = −0.7433), relative humidity has a significant relation with lichen biodiversity (r = 0.8249), and vehicle motors are not significant as a determining factor for lichen biodiversity (r = 0.2068). This study demonstrates that lichen, with its diversity of species in one place, can be utilised to measure and quantify the degree of air pollution in industrial areas. In addition to that, in the context of an industrial city, vehicle motors do not have a significant impact on lichen biodiversity due to the existence of other pollutants sources from industrial activities. Relative humidity is a sign of clean air and humid surroundings, which is good for lichen growth; meanwhile, higher CO concentration will restrict the growth of sensitive-type lichen and will only allow the resistant type of lichen to grow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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17 pages, 3962 KiB  
Article
Snails as Temporal Biomonitors of the Occurrence and Distribution of Pesticides in an Apple Orchard
by Josephine Al-Alam, Maurice Millet, Dani Khoury, Anaïs Rodrigues, Moustapha Harb, Elias Akoury, Sima Tokajian and Mahmoud Wazne
Atmosphere 2022, 13(8), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13081185 - 27 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
The intensive use of pesticides in agricultural areas and the resulting effects have created a need to develop monitoring programs for their active assessment at low cost. This research entails a biomonitoring study of the pesticides in an apple orchard, using juvenile Cornu [...] Read more.
The intensive use of pesticides in agricultural areas and the resulting effects have created a need to develop monitoring programs for their active assessment at low cost. This research entails a biomonitoring study of the pesticides in an apple orchard, using juvenile Cornu aspersum (O. F. Müller, 1774) snails exposed in field microcosms. The snails were deployed at three different locations in the orchard area and were used to assess the temporal biomonitoring of 100 different semi-volatile and non-volatile pesticides. The study was performed over an 18-week period and targeted the center, the border, and the outside of the orchard. Results showed that greater levels of pesticides were detected at the center of the orchard as compared to the other sites. The type and level of the applied pesticide influenced its environmental dissipation, as significantly greater levels of semi-volatile pesticides were accumulated by the caged snails in comparison to non-volatile pesticides. The presence of semi-volatile pesticides in the snails outside the orchard revealed the usefulness of these species in the biomonitoring of off-site pesticide emissions. The findings of this study showed that C. aspersum can serve as a reliable and effective model organism for the active biomonitoring of pesticide emissions in agricultural sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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Review

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16 pages, 1756 KiB  
Review
Biomonitoring Atmospheric Pollution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Using Mosses
by Guiping Gao, Hui Zeng and Qixing Zhou
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010026 - 23 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2169
Abstract
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as the main components of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), are carcinogenic organic pollutants that occur widely in the atmospheric environment with increasing concentration. Moreover, PAHs are widespread all over the world due to their high volatility and long-range transport potential. [...] Read more.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as the main components of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), are carcinogenic organic pollutants that occur widely in the atmospheric environment with increasing concentration. Moreover, PAHs are widespread all over the world due to their high volatility and long-range transport potential. The monitoring of atmospheric PAHs is often limited by working conditions, especially around oil field operation areas and other industrial areas. Mosses (Bryophyta), the most sensitive atmosphere pollution indicators, can be easily collected and have been used to monitor atmospheric pollutants including PAHs. Thus, characteristics and influencing factors of mosses’ absorption and accumulation of PAHs in the atmosphere were discussed, and the application of mosses in the biomonitoring of atmospheric PAHs were summarized. Biomonitoring mosses include Dicranum scoparium, Hypnum cupressiforme, Thamnobryum alopecurum, Thuidium tamariscinum, Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium scheberi, etc. Currently, the main methods for monitoring PAHs by mosses are biomonitoring with the chemical analysis method, the index of atmospheric purity (IAP) method, the ecological survey method, and the Moss-bag technique. Biomonitoring of atmospheric PAHs using mosses has a relatively wide range of prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomonitoring - an Effective Tool for Air Pollution Assessment)
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