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Pelargonium leaves as bioaccumulator of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons: analysis and evaluation of sources and air quality in Palermo area

  • Authors: Gianguzza, A.; Culotta, L.; Mannino, M.; Orecchio, S.
  • Publication year: 2006
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


The leaves of Pelargonium zonale have been chosen because this plant is widespread in both the Mediterranean metropolitan and peripheral areas. The paper describes the analytical method, and the results concerning the determination of PAHs in Pelargonium leaves collected in the Palermo area, and their possible origins. The GC-MS method was applied, since identification of all the different compounds with spectra libraries is possible. Samples were analyzed for 22 PAHs. The reported analytical method is complete within 2 hours, and more convenient than that of other researches. Total PAH concentrations in leaves varied between 24-357 g/kg d.w. The relative abundance of the analyzed PAHs can be used to elucidate the sources. PAH concentrations were positively correlated to those of particulate measured by traditional methods. The results clearly indicate that the chosen PAH levels in Pelargonium leaves offer the possibility to assess the quality of air in a determined geographical areas. The city of Palermo is prone to a rather high level of atmospheric pollution, in particular in the zones with heavy traffic. Industrial activity is widespread in the area, but not an important source of the pollutants studied here.