Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster needles as passive samplers of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Maria Teresa Piccardo, Mauro Pala, Bruna Bonaccurso, Anna Stella, Anna Redaelli, Gaudenzio Paola, Federico Valerio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analysed in pine needles of different ages (from 6 to 30 months) collected from two species, Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster, in seven sites located along a transect from a suburban to a rural area of Genoa (Italy). In all sites and for both species, concentrations of more volatile PAHs (phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene) were higher than those for other less volatile PAHs, which are preferentially sorbed to airborne particulates (benzo[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzofluoranthenes, benzo[a]pyrene). Concentrations of total PAHs found in P. nigra in the rural sites were, on the average, 2.3 times higher than those in P. pinaster growing nearby. In both pine species, concentrations of volatile PAHs increased according to needle age. Annual trends of other PAHs were more variable, with a general decrease in older needles. P. pinaster needles are shown to be more reliable passive samplers, since they are more resistant to plant diseases, and considerable variation in PAH concentration was observed in P. nigra needles with moulds and fungi. The suitability of the pine needles as passive air samplers for persistent trace organics is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Air pollution
  • Annual trends
  • Bioindicators
  • PAHs
  • Pine needles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution

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