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Authors: Winkler, Aldo* 
Contardo, Tania* 
Lapenta, Virginia* 
Sgamellotti, Antonio* 
Loppi, Stefano* 
Title: Assessing the impact of vehicular particulate matter on cultural heritage by magnetic biomonitoring at Villa Farnesina in Rome, Italy
Journal: Science of The Total Environment 
Series/Report no.: /823 (2022)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 1-Jun-2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153729
Keywords: Brake wear; Cultural heritage; Lichen transplants; Magnetic biomonitoring; Preventive conservation; Traffic-related particulate matter
Abstract: Magnetic biomonitoring methodologies were applied at Villa Farnesina, Rome, a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, with loggias frescoed by renowned artists such as Raffaello Sanzio. Plant leaves were sampled in September and December 2020 and lichen transplants were exposed from October 2020 to early January 2021 at increasing distances from the main trafficked road, Lungotevere Farnesina, introducing an outdoor vs. indoor mixed sampling design aimed at assessing the impact of vehicular particulate matter (PM) on the Villa Loggias. The magnetic properties of leaves and lichens - inferred from magnetic susceptibility values, hysteresis loops and first order reversal curves - showed that the bioaccumulation of magnetite-like particles, associated with trace metals such as Cu, Ba and Sb, decreased exponentially with the distance from the road, and was mainly linked to metallic emission from vehicle brake abrasion. For the frescoed Halls, ca. 30 m from the road, the exposure to traffic-related emissions was very limited or negligible. Tree and shrub leaves of the Lungotevere and of the Villa's Gardens intercepted much traffic-derived PM, thus being able to protect the indoor cultural heritage and providing an essential conservation service. It is concluded that the joint use of magnetic and chemical analyses can profitably be used for evaluating the impact of particulate pollution on cultural heritage within complex metropolitan contexts as a preventive conservation measure.
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