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Integrated assessment of air pollution by metals and source apportionment using ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) in southern Brazil

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Abstract

One of the biggest environmental problems existing today is air pollution, which is characterized by the presence of toxic gases and metal pollutants, the latter of which is generally associated with emissions of particulate matter (PM) from industries or automotive vehicles. Biomonitoring is a method that can be used to assess air pollution levels because it makes it possible to determine what effects these air pollutants cause in living organisms and their responses. The species Lolium multiflorum Lam., known as ryegrass, is considered a good bioindicator of metals, since it accumulates these substances during exposure. This study proposes to conduct an integrated assessment of air quality using two different monitoring methodologies: biomonitoring with L. multiflorum and active monitoring in areas with different levels of urbanization and industrialization. Concentrations found in ryegrass plants revealed high levels of Pb, Cr, Zn, and Cu, indicating that vehicular and industrial emissions were the main sources of pollution. Analysis of PM also revealed soot and biogenic particles, which can transport metals. Therefore, with the proposed method, the anthropogenic impact on air pollution in the investigated area could be clearly demonstrated.

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Correspondence to Darlan Daniel Alves.

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Illi, J.C., Vancetta, T., Alves, D.D. et al. Integrated assessment of air pollution by metals and source apportionment using ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) in southern Brazil. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 2790–2803 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-8041-y

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Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Monitoring
  • Ryegrass
  • L. multiflorum
  • Metallic elements
  • SEM/EDS