Advertisement

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 267–282 | Cite as

Honeybees and Their Products as Potential Bioindicators of Heavy Metals Contamination

  • Marcelo Enrique ContiEmail author
  • Francesco Botrè
Article

Abstract

The concentrations of three representative heavy metals(cadmium, chromium and lead) were measured by atomic absorptionspectroscopy in honeybees and in apiary's products (honey,pollen, propolis, and wax). Samples were collected from fivedifferent sampling points: four from areas surrounding the cityof Rome, and the fifth in the city center which receives intensevehicular traffic. All apiaries employed for this study werespecifically constructed without any metal part in order toavoid the risk of contamination of the assayed materials.Sample collection was conducted over a 3-month period (6samplings for honey and pollen, 3 sampling for propolis and wax,2 samplings for honeybees, all of which were collected in duplicate). Experimental data revealed, in general,statistically significant differences between the backgroundlevels of heavy metals recorded from the reference sites and thelevels measured in the site located in the center of the city ofRome.These results indicate that honeybees and, to a lesser extent,some of their products (pollen, propolis, wax, but not honey),can be considered representative bioindicators of environmentalpollution.

apiary products biomonitoring heavy metals honeybees 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Biniecka M., Conti, M. E. and Campana, P.: 1995, 'Propolis (Bee Glue)-Pharmacological qualities and properties; microelements determination', in Proceedings of 10th JGWT Symposium, (ed.) Peking University Press, Beijing, Renmin University of China, Sept. 4–8 p. 507.Google Scholar
  2. Bromenshenk, J. J., Carlson, S. R., Simpson, J. C. and Thomas, J. M.: 1985, 'Pollution monitoring of Puget Sound with honeybees', Science 227, 532–634Google Scholar
  3. Celli, G., Porrini, C. and Tiraferri, S.: 1987, 'L'ape come insetto-test dei pesticidi', Inf Agrario, XLIII 38, 59–63.Google Scholar
  4. Cesco, S., Barbattini, R. and Agabiti, M. F.: 1994, 'L'ape: insettot-test dell'onquinamento ambientale da cadmio e piombo? Esperienze di monitoraggio di Portogruaro (Venezia)', Apicoltura 9, 103–118.Google Scholar
  5. Cimino, G., Ziino, M. and Panuccio, M. R.: 1984, 'Heavy metal pollution. Part X: impact of volcanic activity on Etnean honey', Environ. Technol. Lett. 5, 453–456.Google Scholar
  6. Comune di Roma: 1997, Relazione sullo stato dell'ambiente a Roma, Maggioli Editore, pp. 1–309.Google Scholar
  7. Conti, M. E., Saccares, S., Cubadda, F., Cavallina, R., Tenoglio, C. A. and Ciprotti, L.: 1998, 'Il miele nel Lazio: indagine sul contenuto in metalli in tracce e radionuclidi', Riv Sci Alim 2, 107–119.Google Scholar
  8. Crane, E.: 1975, Honey: A Comprehensive Survey, William Heinemann in co-operation with International Bee Research Association, London.Google Scholar
  9. Crane, E.: 1984; 'Bees, honey, and pollen as indicators of metals in the environment', Bee World 65(1), 47–49.Google Scholar
  10. Cubadda, R., La Notte, E., Esti, M., Marconi, E., Panfili, G., Mancini, M. P. and Trivisonno M. C.: 1995, 'Studio dell'ambiente utilizzando l'ape come bioindicatore', in Rilevamento di contaminanti e valutazione della qualitá dell'ambiente attraverso indicatori biologici, Universitá degli Studi del Molise, Dipartimento S.T.A.A.M., Campobasso, 114 p.Google Scholar
  11. Di Giacomo, F., Franco, M. A., Giaccio, M., Prota, R., Floris, I., Chessa, M. and Sferlazzo, G.: 1996, 'Valutazioni statistische multivariate sul contenuto di metalli in mieli prodotti in prossimitá di fonti di inquinamento', Riv. Merceol. 35, IV, 295–310.Google Scholar
  12. Franco, M. A., Chessa, M., Sferlazzo, G., Giaccio, M., Di Giacomo, F. and Prota, R.: 1997, 'Bee pollen as an indicator of environmental pollution by heavy metals', Riv. Merceol. 36, II, 67–78.Google Scholar
  13. Franco, M. A., Chessa, M., Sferlazzo, G., Giaccio, M., Mi Giacomo, F., Prota, R. and Manca, G.: 1998, 'Beeswax as an indicator of environmental pollution by heavy metals', Riv. Merceol. 37(1), 3–11.Google Scholar
  14. Franco, M. A., Di Giacomo, F., Prota, R., Satta, M., Sferlazzo, G. and Murmura, F.: 1996, 'Caratterizzazione del contenuto di metalli in mieli prodotti in prossimitá di fonti di inquinamento', in Proceedings of the XVII Congresso Nazionale di Merceologia, Lecce, Italy, 3–5 October 1996, pp. 781–786.Google Scholar
  15. Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise (IZS): 1991, Studio analitico dei mieli abruzzesi, Teramo, pp. 82.Google Scholar
  16. Jamoussi, B., Zafaouf, M. and Ben Hassine, B.: 1995, 'Hydride generation/condensation system with an inductively coupled argon plasma polychromator for simultaneous determination of arsenic, antimony, selenium, lead, mercury and tin in honey', Intern. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. 61, 249–256.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, K. C.: 1987, 'Honey as an indicator of heavy metal contamination', Water Air Soil Pollut. 33, 179–189.Google Scholar
  18. Kump, P., Necemer, M. and Snajder, J.: 1996, 'Determination of trace elements in bee honey, pollen and tissue by total reflection and radioisotope X-ray fluorescence spectrometry', Spectrochimica Acta Part B 51, 499–507.Google Scholar
  19. Leita, L., Muhlbachova, G., Cesco, S., Barbattini, R. and Mondini, C.: 1996, 'Investigation on the use of honeybees and honeybee products to assess heavy metals contamination', Environ. Monit. Assess. 43, 1–9.Google Scholar
  20. Petrovic, Z. T., Mandic, M. L., Frgic, J. and Grgic, Z.: 1994, 'Ash and chromium levels of some types of honey', Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch. 198, 36–39.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Pinzauti, M., Frediani, D., Biondi, C., Belli, R., Panizzi, L., Cosimi, C. and Zummo, V.: 1991, 'Impiego delle api nel rilevamento dell'inquinamento ambientale', Analysis 8, 354–407.Google Scholar
  22. Pratt, C. R. and Sikorski, R. S.: 1982, 'Lead content of wildflowers and honeybees (Apis mellifera) along a roadway: Possible contamination of a single food chain', Proceed. of the Pennsylvania Acad. of Sci. 56, 151–152.Google Scholar
  23. Raes, H., Cornelis, R., Rzeznik, U.: 1992, 'Distribution, accumulation and depuration of administered lead in adult honeybees', Sci. Total Environ. 113, 269–279.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Stöcker, G.: 1980, in Schubert, R. and Schuh, J. (eds): Methodische und Theoretische Grundlagen der Bioindikation (Bioindikation 1), pp. 10–21. Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle (Saale), GDR.Google Scholar
  25. Tong, S. S. C., Morse, R. A., Bache, C. A. and Lisk, D. J.: 1975, 'Elemental analysis of honey as an indicator of pollution', Arch. Environ. Health 30, 329–332.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Wallwork-Barber, M. K., Ferenbaugh, R. W. and Gladney, E. S.: 1982, 'The use of honeybees as monitors of environmental pollution', Am. Bee J. 122, 770–772.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Controllo e Gestione dell Merci e del loro Impatto sull'AmbienteUniversità `La Sapienza'RomaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Controllo e Gestione dell Merci e del loro Impatto sull'AmbienteUniversità `La Sapienza'RomaItaly

Personalised recommendations