1. Biomonitoring of trace elements atmospheric deposition using tree leaves


Tree leaves are a common indicator of the environmental impact of point and line sources, or urban areas. Higher plants are not as suitable biomonitors as mosses and lichens, although, in highly polluted areas (industrial or urban environment) where lichens and mosses are often absent, trees can act as unique and appropriate bioindicators/biomonitors. Moreover, tree leaves are very efficient in trapping atmospheric particles, and they have a special role in reducing the level of fine, “high risk” respirable particulates (PM < 2.5 µm), that have potential to cause serious human health problems.

Leaves of Aesculus hippocastanum L., Corylus colurna L. and Tillia sp. were also used as accumulative biomonitors of trace metal pollution in Belgrade. The leave samples were collected at several representative urban parks, washed and dried in laboratory, and, using differential pulse anodic stripping voltametry (DPASV) and induced coupled plasma optic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), trace element concentrations were determined. Increased trace metal concentrations in the leaves of A. hippocastanum reflected elevated atmospheric trace metal pollution, whereas C. colurna L. and Tillia sp. did not respond accordingly, suggesting the former could be used as a suitable biomonitor of atmospheric pollution in urban areas.

Also, chemical and morphological characterization of trace metal particles deposited on horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) and Turkish hazel (Corulys colurna L.) leaves in an urban area of Belgrade have been investigated using a scanning electron microscope with an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDAX).