Sustainability, Vol. 14, Pages 7254: Biomonitoring Potentially Toxic Elements (PTEs) Using Lichen Transplant Usnea misaminensis: A Case Study from Malaysia

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su14127254

Azlan Abas
Kadaruddin Aiyub
Azahan Awang

Urban air pollution has been a major concern due to its impact on global public health. Various techniques for monitoring urban air quality have been developed. However, there is currently a dearth of research on how effective bioaccumulators such as lichen are at monitoring urban air pollution. As a result, the purpose of this research is to investigate the use of U. misaminensis as a biological indicator for biomonitoring urban air quality in Malaysia. Three months were spent exposing lichen samples in three Malaysian cities (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru). The trace element content and vitality of the lichens were assessed. The results of this study revealed that U. misaminensis is an effective biological indicator for measuring 25 elements of air pollutants in metropolitan areas. They also revealed that all 25 elements accumulated in the urban area sample were greater than in the control sample. The vitality rate of lichens dropped in the urban area sample when compared with the control sample, indicating that an increase in elements in the air will impact the vitality rate of any biological component. In this study, two arguments are made: (a) Lichen is an excellent biological indicator, particularly for urban air pollutants such as potentially toxic elements; and (b) traffic is the primary contributor to urban air pollution; hence, the local government requires a better plan and design for urban areas to decrease air pollutants build-up.

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