Trees as bioindicator of heavy metal pollution in three European cities
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Concentrations of four heavy metals were determined in tree leaves and bark collected from polluted and non-polluted areas of three European cities (Salzburg, Belgrade and Thessaloniki) for a comparative study. Platanus orientalis L and Pinus nigra Arn., widespread in urban northern and southern Europe, were tested for their suitability for air quality biomonitoring. Leaves and barks were collected uniformly of an initial quantity of about 30 g of each sample. Analysis was accomplished by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry after total digestion. Site-dependent variations were found with the highest concentration level measured in Belgrade, followed by Thessaloniki and Salzburg. A higher accumulation of heavy metals was found in bark compared to leaves. Pine tree bark, accumulating higher concentrations of trace metals compared to plane tree bark, shows a higher efficiency as bioindicator for urban pollution. Both indicator species are suitable for comparative studies on bioindication of urban air pollution. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.