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Leaves of nerium Oleander L. as bioaccunulators of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the air of Palermo (Italy): extraction and GC-MS analysis, distribution and sources


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) were determined in the leaves of Nerium oleander L. an evergreen plant that occurs widely in both urban and rural areas, to monitor the degree of pollution in the urban area of Palermo (Italy) compared to remote areas. Twenty sites (urban roadside, urban, urban park, suburban and rural) in and around Palermo city were investigated. The purpose of this research was to investigate concentration levels and distribution patterns and relate them to possible sources. Analysis of 19 PAH was performed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS) using selected ion monitoring (SIM). The total amount of PAH ranged from 10 to 166 μg/Kg d.w. Each source gives rise to a characteristic PAH pattern, and it is therefore possible to get access to the processes that generate the compounds. To this aim, the recommended as priority pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), perylene and three additional alkylated compounds were analyzed. Positive correlations were found between total PAH content of the leaves with CO, benzene and particulate levels measured in air of Palermo.