© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. The present study quantifies non essential heavy metals highly toxic for biological systems (Pb, Hg and Cd) in five autochthonous epiphytic plants from Tillandsia genus (T. recurvata, T. meridionalis, T. duratii, T. tricholepis, T. loliacea) according to different traffic levels (reference, low, medium and high polluted sites) in Asunción (Paraguay). The three metals increased in polluted sites following Pb (till 62.99 ppm in T. tricholepis) > Cd (till 1.35 ppm in T. recurvata) > Hg (till 0.36 ppm in T. recurvata) and Pb and Cd levels were directly related to traffic flow. Although the species showed similar bioaccumulation pattern (namely, higher levels of metals in polluted sites), enrichment factors (maximum EF values 37.00, 18.16, and 11.90 for Pb, Hg, and Cd, respectively) reported T. tricholepis as the most relevant bioindicator due to its wide distribution and abundance in study sites, low metal content in control site and high metal contents in polluted sites, and significant correlations with traffic density of Pb and Cd. This study emphasizes the necessity of biomonitoring air pollution in areas out of air monitoring control such as Asunción, where the high levels of metal pollution especially Pb, may represent an increment of risk for the human population inhabiting this urban area.
- Heavy metal
- Urban pollution