Keywords: natural areas, background, INAA, instrumental neutron activation analysis, active biomonitoring, passive biomonitoring, sustainable sampling, native bromeliads, environmental monitoring, chemical elements, air pollution, air quality
Sustainable sampling of native bromeliads for environmental monitoring
By analysing the leaves of bromeliads, the availability of chemical elements in the atmosphere can be assessed. However, sampling steps affect the reliability of using such plants for environmental quality studies. This paper describes a novel and sustainable sampling methodology for conservation units, in which small discs (6 mm diameter) of bromeliad leaves could be taken without removing rosettes. Bromeliad leaf discs were sampled from the top, middle and bottom positions of the rosettes. For comparison, the whole rosettes were also analysed by the k0 method and Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). Considering the 11 bromeliad species evaluated, the results of sustainable sampling compared with usual sampling (after milling and sub-sampling) did not demonstrate significant differences at the 95% confidence level for Br, Cs, K, Na, Rb, Sc and Zn. Consequently, sustainable sampling was considered to be reliable at the current level of studies for environmental quality assessment.