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Evaluating deciduous tree leaves as biomonitors for ambient particulate matter pollution in Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  • Sara E. GilloolyEmail author
  • Drew R. Michanowicz
  • Mike Jackson
  • Leah K. Cambal
  • Jessie L. C. Shmool
  • Brett J. Tunno
  • Sheila Tripathy
  • Daniel J. Bain
  • Jane E. Clougherty
Article
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Abstract

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution varies spatially and temporally in concentration and composition and has been shown to cause or exacerbate adverse effects on human and ecological health. Biomonitoring using airborne tree leaf deposition as a proxy for particulate matter (PM) pollution has been explored using a variety of study designs, tree species, sampling strategies, and analytical methods. In the USA, relatively few have applied these methods using co-located fine particulate measurements for comparison and relying on one tree species with extensive spatial coverage, to capture spatial variation in ambient air pollution across an urban area. Here, we evaluate the utility of this approach, using a spatial saturation design and pairing tree leaf samples with filter-based PM2.5 across Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the goal of distinguishing mobile and stationary sources using PM2.5 composition. Co-located filter and leaf-based measurements revealed some significant associations with traffic and roadway proximity indicators. We compared filter and leaf samples with differing protection from the elements (e.g., meteorology) and PM collection time, which may account for some variance in PM source and/or particle size capture between samples. To our knowledge, this study is among the first to use deciduous tree leaves from a single tree species as biomonitors for urban PM2.5 pollution in the northeastern USA.

Keywords

Biomonitoring Deciduous tree leaves Particulate matter Urban particulate pollution 

Abbreviations

PM2.5

particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm

PM

particulate matter

PM10

particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 μm

BC

black carbon

OC

organic carbon

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

NO2

nitrogen dioxide

SO2

sulfur dioxide

CO

carbon monoxide

USGS

United States Geological Survey

LPM

liters per minute

ICP-MS

inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry

ARM

anhysteretic remanent magnetization

AF

alternating field

dc

direct current

MDFARM

median destructive field of ARM

T

Tesla

SIRM

saturation isothermal remanent magnetization

MDFSIRM

median destructive field of SIRM

Ms

saturation magnetization

Hc

coercivity

g

gram

HNO3

nitric acid

mL

milliliter

Mr/Ms

remanence ratio

MDFIRM

median destructive field of isothermal remanent magnetization

Am2

amperes per meter squared

m2

meter squared

A

ampere

mT

millitesla

PSD

pseudo-single domain

MD

multi-domain;

SD

single domain

SD (from tables)

standard deviation

μm

micrometer

EFA

exploratory factor analysis

US EPA

United States Environmental Protection Agency

SEM-EDXA

scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive x-ray analysis

PM1.0

particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 1.0 μm

TEL

tetraethyllead

TEOM-FDMS

tapered element oscillating microbalance and filter dynamics measurement system

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Kyra Naumoff Shields from Colorado State University and Joshua Feinberg from University of Minnesota Institute for Rock Magnetism for their mentorship over the course of the study and magnetic analyses, respectively. We also thank Jeffrey Howell for his effort on the pilot study presented in the SI. In addition, we acknowledge Duquesne Light Company for granting monitoring permissions for poles and Tree Pittsburgh for providing street tree data for the study design.

Author contributions

JEC, SEG, and LKC were primarily responsible for study design; BJT, DRM, JLCS, and LKC were responsible for the GIS-based portion of study design; JEC oversaw aspects of study design and implementation. SEG, DRM, LKC, BJT, and ST carried out all fieldwork. SEG and LKC completed all laboratory analyses, with guidance from MJ and DJB. SEG performed statistical analyses with the guidance from JEC, JLCS, BJT, DRM, and ST. All authors have contributed to, read, and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by internal University of Pittsburgh Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Funds, University of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Funds, a University of Minnesota Institute for Rock Magnetism fellowship award, and The Heinz Endowments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10661_2019_7857_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1784 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara E. Gillooly
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Drew R. Michanowicz
    • 1
  • Mike Jackson
    • 3
  • Leah K. Cambal
    • 1
  • Jessie L. C. Shmool
    • 1
  • Brett J. Tunno
    • 1
  • Sheila Tripathy
    • 1
  • Daniel J. Bain
    • 4
  • Jane E. Clougherty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthUniversity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public HealthPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.University of Minnesota Institute for Rock MagnetismMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of Geology and Geology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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