Urban allotment gardens for the biomonitoring of atmospheric trace element pollution

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

This study evaluates the results of the characterization of air pollution in urban green areas using edible plants. To this purpose, we examined the effect of location (i.e., three different levels of pollution), substrate (peat moss and vermiculite), and plant species (oilseed rape [Brassica napus L.] and kale [Brassica oleracea L.]) on the accumulation of trace elements on leaves. A total of 36 samples of unwashed leaves were digested with HNO 3 –H 2 O 2 and analyzed for 27 elements by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Considering the location, plants exposed next to the road showed higher contents of traffic-related elements, and additionally, outdoors samples were enriched in marine aerosol ions. Cadmium and Pb concentrations did not exceed the European legal maximum levels for vegetables, so their consumption would be safe for human health. Results support the hypothesis that edible plants such as kale and rapeseed could be used as bioindicators of atmospheric pollution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Volume48
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)518-525
ISSN0047-2425
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

ID: 224335598