The aim of the present study is the use of 14C, sampled in leaves of evergreen species, as a natural geochemical marker to estimate the contribution of artificial sources (heating plants, vehicles, etc.) to the complex of atmospheric gases in an urban environment. Leaves were chosen due to sampling easiness and their reliability: in particular the evergreen species, being exposed all the year round to pollutants are especially indicated for bioindication and biomonitoring studies. The response to atmospheric pollutants has been studied of two plant species (Quercus ilex L., Pinus pinea L.) measuring isotopic (14r, δ13C), chemical (Pb concentration) and ecophysiological (gaseous exchange and leaf fluorescence of chlorophyll a) parameters. Leaves of holm-oaks and stone pine needles collected over a 3-year time span in an urban park in Rome (Villa Ada) and in reference localities outside the city on the Tyrrhenian coast and in the pre-Appennine area have been analysed. In Villa Ada measurements were carried out along a transect from the road bordering the park towards the interior; all the parameters, together in agreement, showed a decreasing pollution gradient towards the inner park. It was possible to estimate a 5.5±0.3% contribution of CO2 from fossil fuels close to the road, decreasing to 1.7±0.3% at <300 m from it towards the inner park. The isotopic analyses conducted on stone pines and holm-oaks show that 14C provides indications on the degree of pollution from fossil fuels, while δ13C appears to be conditioned mainly by the interspecific difference, and also by many other environmental factors that affect the plant functionality. Results confirmed that radiocarbon is a useful tool in environmental studies, allowing to quantify the contributions of CO2 of anthropic origin: this parameter, together with appropriate isotopic, chemical and ecophysiological analyses, could provide a good indication of the “air quality” in urban and rural contexts.
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|Titolo:||Radiocarbon as a biomarker of urban pollution in leaves of evergreen species sampled in Rome and in rural areas (Lazio-Central Italy)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2002|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||01a Articolo in rivista|