Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
Research article
23 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 23 Feb 2015

Assessment of atmospheric trace element concentrations by lichen-bag near an oil/gas pre-treatment plant in the Agri Valley (southern Italy)

R. Caggiano, S. Trippetta, and S. Sabia

Abstract. The atmospheric concentrations of 17 trace elements (Al, Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, S, Ti and Zn) were measured by means of the "lichen-bag" technique in the Agri Valley (southern Italy). The lichen samples were collected from an unpolluted site located in Rifreddo forest (southern Italy), about 30 km away from the study area along the north direction. The bags were exposed to ambient air for 6 and 12 months. The exposed-to-control (EC) ratio values highlighted that the used lichen species were suitable for biomonitoring investigations. The results showed that the concentrations of almost all the examined trace elements increased with respect to the control after 6–12-month exposures. Furthermore, Ca, Al, Fe, K, Mg and S were the most abundant trace elements both in the 6-month and 12-month-exposed samples. Moreover, principal component analysis (PCA) results highlighted that the major sources of the measured atmospheric trace elements were related both to anthropogenic contributions due to traffic, combustion processes agricultural practices, construction and quarrying activities, and to natural contributions mainly represented by the re-suspension of local soil and road dusts. In addition, the contribution both of secondary atmospheric reactions involving Centro Olio Val d'Agri (COVA) plant emissions and the African dust long-range transport were also identified.

Final-revised paper