Trace element concentrations from lichen transplants in Pretoria, South Africa

Joshua Oluwole Olowoyo, E. van Heerden, J. L. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the level and possible sources of trace elements in Tshwane metropolis using transplanted lichen thallus of Parmelia sulcata with a view to evaluating the ability of this lichen species to monitor air pollutants from a perceived polluted environment. Methods: Samples of the lichen thalli were transplanted into ten different sites and covered with a net. Samples were exposed for 3 months. Concentrations of ten trace elements were determined with the use of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results: A significant difference was observed in the values of elemental concentration in lichen from unpolluted area and those transplanted to all the sites (p < 0.01). Variations in values of trace elements recorded in lichen transplant from different sites were also statistically significant (p < 0.01). The high traffic sites showed significantly higher elemental concentrations, particularly for Pb, Zn, and Cu than the industrial and residential areas (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Trends in the trace element values from different sites suggested that the elements might have come from anthropogenic sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-668
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Biomonitoring
  • Lead
  • Parmelia sulcata
  • Trace elements
  • Transplant
  • Vehicular emission


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