Assessment of Lichens as Biomonitors of Heavy Metal Pollution in Selected Mining Area, Slovakia
Lichens have widely been used as bioindicators to reflect the quality of the environment. The
present study was conducted to investigate the lichens diversity that grows on the surface of waste
heaps from an abandoned old copper mine in Mlynky, Slovakia. In spite of the heavy metalcontaminated
environment, we documented twenty species of lichens in the selected site.
Taxonomically the most numerous group were represented by Cladonia with seven species, as
well other species; namely, Acarospora fuscata, Cetraria islandica, Dermatocarpon miniatum,
Hypogymnia physodes, Hypogymnia tubulosa, Lecanora subaurea, Lepraria incana, Physcia
aipolia, Porpidia macrocarpa, Pseudevernia furfuracea, Rhizocarpon geographicum and
Xanthoria parietina. The content of selected heavy metals (Cu, Fe, and Zn) in the predominant
lichens Cetraria islandica, Cladonia digitata, Cladonia pyxidata, Hypogymnia physodes and
Pseudevernia furfuracea were analyzed. The highest content of Cu, Fe, and Zn was found in
Cladonia pyxidata collected from mine-spoil heaps with concentration 46 ± 4.4, 82.5 ± 22.6, 4.8 ±
1.6 mg/kg, respectively. Interestingly, Cladonia pyxidata collected from the forest surrounding the
location showed 15 times lower concentration for Cu. Additionally, similar results were found for
Fe and Zn.
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