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Assessment of Metal Immission in Urban Environments Using Elemental Concentrations and Zinc Isotope Signatures in Leaves of Nerium oleander

AuthorsMartín, A.; Caldelas, C.; Weiss, D.; Aranjuelo, Iker ; Navarro, Enrique
Issue Date10-Jan-2018
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
CitationEnvironmental Science and Technology - Columbus 52(4): 2071-2080 (2018)
AbstractA thorough understanding of spatial and temporal emission and immission patterns of air pollutants in urban areas is challenged by the low number of air-quality monitoring stations available. Plants are promising low-cost biomonitoring tools. However, source identification of the trace metals incorporated in plant tissues (i.e., natural vs anthropogenic) and the identification of the best plant to use remain fundamental challenges. To this end, Nerium oleander L. collected in the city of Zaragoza (NE Spain) has been investigated as a biomonitoring tool for assessing the spatial immission patterns of airborne metals (Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni, Ce, and Zn). N. oleander leaves were sampled at 118 locations across the city, including the city center, industrial hotspots, ring-roads, and outskirts. Metal concentrations were generally higher within a 4 km radius around the city center. Calculated enrichment factors relative to upper continental crust suggest an anthropogenic origin for Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn. Zinc isotopes showed significant variability that likely reflects different pollution sources. Plants closer to industrial hotspots showed heavier isotopic compositions (δ66ZnLyon up to +0.70‰), indicating significant contributions of fly ash particles, while those far away were isotopically light (up to −0.95‰), indicating significant contributions from exhaust emissions and flue gas. We suggest that this information is applied for improving the environmental and human risk assessment related to the exposure to air pollution in urban areas.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00617
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