Epilithic Lichen-Atmospheric Deposition Monitors of Trace Elements and Organohalogens?

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 1999 Oct;49(10):1201-1211. doi: 10.1080/10473289.1999.10463921.


Epilithic lichen (Xanthoria elegans in Canada, Lecanora muralis in Germany) were gathered from 17 locations in Ontario, Canada (from Lake Ontario to James Bay) and 43 locations in Germany (from the Alps to the North Sea and from the Baltic Sea to the Erzgebirge). Sample aliquots were digested in nitric acid and trace elements were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrom-etry techniques. The organohalogens were determined as absorbable organic halogens (AOXs) by coulometry. Concentration ranges from Germany for trace element samples and AOXs were determined. The lichen showed high spatial resolution in their element enrichment patterns. This allowed for differentiation between natural and anthropogenic dominance in ambient air concentrations. This biomonitoring method has proven to be very sensitive, fast, and reliable. No clear relationship could be found between trace element and AOX concentrations. The AOX values may reflect individual metabolic rates of the fungal partner in lichen symbionts.