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Authors: Moreno, E.* 
Sagnotti, L.* 
Dinarès-Turell, J.* 
Winkler, A.* 
Cascella, A.* 
Title: Biomonitoring of traffic air pollution in Rome using magnetic properties of tree leaves
Issue Date: Jul-2003
Series/Report no.: 21 / 37 (2003)
DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(03)00244-9
Keywords: Magnetic proporties
Traffic emission
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.03. Pollution 
Abstract: We report a biomonitoring study of air pollution in Rome based on the magnetic properties of tree leaves. In a first step, magnetic properties of leaves from different tree species from the same location were compared. It was observed that leaves of evergreen species, like Quercus ilex, present much higher magnetic intensities than those of deciduous species, like Platanus sp., suggesting that leaves accumulate magnetic pollutants during their whole lifespan. In a second step, leaves from Q. ilex and Platanus sp. trees, both very common in Rome, have been used to monitor traffic emission pollution in two different periods. A Platanus sp. sampling campaign was undertaken in October 2001, at the end of the seasonal vegetational cycle, and 5 Q. ilex monthly sampling campaigns from April to August 2002. The strong difference observed in the magnetic susceptibility from leaves collected in green areas and roads allowed the realization of detailed pollution distribution maps from the south of Rome. Magnetic properties indicate that high concentrations and relatively larger grain-sizes of magnetic particles are observed in trees located along roads with high vehicle traffic and in the vicinity of railways. The decrease in concentration and grain size of magnetic particles with distance from the roadside confirms that magnetic properties of leaves are related to air pollution from vehicle emissions. The results indicate that a magnetic survey of tree leaves, which is relatively rapid and inexpensive, may be used in addition to the classical air quality monitoring systems to identify and delineate high-polluted areas in urban environments.
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