The European Council Directive 96/62/EC about ambient air quality assessment and management, requires to States the periodical availability of information about air quality within their territories. Nevertheless, the available methods are expensive, which prevents they can be used in a large scale. Thus, at present it is necessary to have inexpensive and robust tools for monitoring air quality across Europe. The use of mosses, due to its high efficiency in the load of both particulate and gaseous forms of organic pollutants, inorganic and radioactive, may be an optimal choice. Until now they are used as biomonitors of air quality, but recently several investigators have realized the benefits of using devitalized mosses, because it allows disposing transplants in well defined initial conditions. This really leaves the field of biomonitoring, as the material is used dead, and approximates to the setup of a new biotechnological tool. Actually biotechnological techniques allow cultivating mosses in bioreactors, so it is possible to isolate a moss clone, to cultivate it and to produce a standard material (potentially patentable) which would be comparable to the use of resins or polymers for atmospheric quality control -mosses behave as pollutant exchange resins and their use as filters has been considered for decades. For these reasons we propose the implementation of a project having as main contents: 1) selection and culture of a moss clone; 2) characterization -molecular, physical, physical-chemical and multi-elemental- of the cultivated clone; 3) large-scale production of moss-bags for transplants; 4) comparison between the data collected using moss-bags and traditional techniques (i.e. bulk deposition collectors, particles samplers and gaseous samplers) to allow tool validation; 5) to do a methodological standardization to develop a protocol for using moss-bags; and 6) to develop ta method for identification of pollution focus.
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Funding SchemeCP - Collaborative project (generic)