Lichens as environmental risk detectors
Department of Reggio Calabria, Environmental Protection Agency of Calabria, Italy (ARPACal), Via Troncovito SNC, 89135, Reggio Calabria, Italy
2 Department of Physics and Earth Science, University of Messina, Viale F. Stagno d’Alcontres, 31 - 98166, Messina, Italy
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Accepted: 17 March 2017
Published online: 26 April 2017
Several studies carried out after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 showed that lichens are suitable biomonitors of the fall-out, given their long life expectancy. 137Cs activity concentrations were measured through HPGe gamma spectrometry in different epiphytic lichens (Usnea SPP, Platismatia glauca, Pseudevernia furfuracea, Ramalina SPP), collected from three sampling sites in the Calabria region, south of Italy. Data on variations in the contents of airborne particulates heavy metals, As, Be, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb and Zn, measured in the thalli of the investigated lichens through inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), were reported in accordance with a lichen thalli naturalness/alteration scale. Energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis in a scanning electron microscope (SEM-EDX), with an electron beam of 20keV, that interacts with the sample leading to the emission of characteristic X-rays as secondary radiation, was also employed to investigate about the chemistry of the adherent particles to the surface of investigated lichens and about the possible interaction between them and the surrounding environment. Data obtained in this article provide useful information on the environmental risk of the studied area and can be further used for a radiological and chemical mapping.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2017