Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 13, pp 11978–11990 | Cite as

Chemical element accumulation in tree bark grown in volcanic soils of Cape Verde—a first biomonitoring of Fogo Island

  • Rosa Marques
  • Maria Isabel Prudêncio
  • Maria do Carmo Freitas
  • Maria Isabel Dias
  • Fernando Rocha
Biomonitoring of atmospheric pollution: possibilities and future challenges


Barks from Prosopis juliflora (acacia) were collected in 12 sites of different geological contexts over the volcanic Fogo Island (Cape Verde). Elemental contents of Ba, Br, Co, Cr, Fe, K, Na, Zn and some rare earth elements (REE)—La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Tb, Yb, and Lu, were obtained for biological samples and topsoils by using k 0-standardized and comparative method of instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), aiming the evaluation of chemical elements uptake by acacia bark. This first biomonitoring study of Fogo Island showed that, in general, significant accumulations of trace elements present in high amounts in these soils occur. This can be partially explained by the semi-arid climate with a consequent bioavailability of chemical elements when rain drops fall in this non-polluted environment. REE enrichment factors (EFs) increase with the decrease of ionic radius. Heavy REE (HREE) are significantly enriched in bark, which agrees with their release after the primary minerals breakdown and the formation of more soluble compounds than the other REE, and uptake by plants. Among the potential harmful chemical elements, Cr appears to be partially retained in nanoparticles of iron oxides. The high EFs found in tree barks of Fogo Island are certainly of geogenic origin rather than anthropogenic input since industry and the use of fertilizers is scarce.


Biomonitoring Bark Trace elements REE Volcanic soils Fogo Island INAA 



The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their careful and constructive reviews that considerably improved the manuscript. Grateful acknowledgments are made to financial support made by the project UID/GEO/04035/2013, and also to the staff of the Portuguese Research Reactor (RPI) of CTN/IST for their assistance with the neutron irradiations. C2TN/IST authors are thankful to the FCT (the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation) support through the UID/Multi/04349/2013 project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Marques
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Isabel Prudêncio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria do Carmo Freitas
    • 1
  • Maria Isabel Dias
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fernando Rocha
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (C2TN), ISTUniversidade de LisboaBobadelaPortugal
  2. 2.GeoBioTecUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de GeociênciasUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal

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