Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


This three-phase investigation aimed to verify whether water moss (Fontinalis antipyretica) could be used as a monitor of trace element contamination in lotic and lentic waters.

- Laboratory experiments evaluated the amount of trace elements released by moss during a period of 133 days, under controlled chemical-physical conditions. A release of 64% of Hg, 83% of Cr and 70% of Pb was found, whereas no re lease of Cd and Cu has been observed.
-Clean moss was successively treated with running water at different pH and then treated with Cu, Cr, Hg and Pb, in order to evaluate the dynamics of accumulation of trace elements in moss. Results showed that the metals accumulation was significant during the first hour.
-Samples of clean moss were placed at nine sites, characterised by high contents of elements due to anthropic activities, in order to estimate the ability of moss to accumulate Cu, Cr, Pb and Hg from water, and to localise the metal pollution sources.

The results showed that Fontinalis antipyretica had the ability to accumulate great amounts of trace elements in a short time (a few days and/or a few weeks), whereas the release occurred more slowly (a few months). Therefore, it could be reasonable to stress that moss can be used to monitor water contamination and sources, and to characterise environments with different types of contamination, such as industrial and urban areas. reas.

Additional information

Authors: CENCI R M, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Journal of Limnology, vol. 60(Suppl. 1), (2001), pp. 53-61; (supplement contains:"Scientific and legal aspects of biological monitoring in freshwater": proceedings of the workshop held in Pallanza, 4-5 September 2
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top