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Elemental content of mosses and lichens from Livingston Island (Antarctica) as determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA)


The total content of 8 major and 32 trace elements in four species of mosses and two of lichens as well as neighboring soil and rocks collected from different places of the Livingston Island Antarctica was determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis. The main goals of the project consisted of evidencing the possible trace of anthropogenic contamination as well as the influence of altitude on the distribution of considered elements. In the absence of a unanimously accepted descriptor, enrichment factor, geo-accumulation, and pollution load indices with respect to soil and rocks were used. The data, interpreted within the model of a reference plant, were compared with previous studies regarding the same organisms in similar geographic and climatological areas. The experimental results evidenced different capacity of mosses and lichens to retain the considered elements, but within experimental uncertainties, no traces of anthropogenic pollution were found. At the same time, it was found that the content of most of the elements decreased with the altitude.

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The authors would like to thank the staff of the Department of Activation Analysis and Applied Research of FLNP JINR-Dubna for handling the radioactive samples as well as to express their gratitude to Professors R. Mocanu, M. Frontasyeva, and C. Sarbu for their support and advice. At the same time, the authors are deep indebted to three anonymous reviewers for their remarks and comments. The project was partially accomplished within the protocol no. 4322-4-14/16 between JINR-Dubna and the University of Bucharest.

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Correspondence to Octavian G. Duliu.

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Culicov, O.A., Yurukova, L., Duliu, O.G. et al. Elemental content of mosses and lichens from Livingston Island (Antarctica) as determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 5717–5732 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-8279-4

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  • Antarctica
  • Livingston Island
  • Mosses
  • Lichens
  • Environmental contamination
  • Major elements
  • Trace elements