Springer

Histochemical properties and trace element concentrations in Parietaria L.from urban sites (Palermo, Italy)

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We examined leaf and pollen histochemical properties in Parietaria L. and measured trace element concentrations in urban sites in Palermo, Sicily, affected by different stress valence levels. Urban pollution affects histochemistry macro-, micro-, and toxic element concentrations in Parietaria. We therefore decided to determine whether this plant can be used as a simple biomonitor or bioaccumulator of pollution contaminants. Samples were collected at various sites in different periods. An increase in phenolic compound levels was a result of the impact of pollution. Histochemical characteristics and trace element concentrations varied according to the period, but not to the place, of sampling. Pollutant concentrations were the highest in the month of February 2002. Trace metal concentrations were the lowest in July. Our investigations have confirmed that Parietaria L. can be used to study the effects of trace elements in the atmosphere in urban sites; in fact, they are veritable accumulators, given that elevated levels of pollutants can be found on their structures with no visible morphological effects. There are differences in accumulation capacity according to the trace elements studied. Pollution alters the content of phenolic compounds and chemical elements in Parietaria L.

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