Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > PCBs and selected organochlorine compounds in I...
View graph of relations

PCBs and selected organochlorine compounds in Italian mountain air: the influence of altitude and forest type.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Foday M. Jaward
  • Antonio Di Guardo
  • Luca Nizzetto
  • Chiara Cassani
  • Francesca Raffaele
  • Rossella Ferretti
  • Kevin C. Jones
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/05/2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)3455-3463
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Passive air samplers (polyurethane foam disks) were deployed on an altitudinal transect in the rural Italian Alps to investigate the potential influence of forest cover on air concentrations. Samplers were exposed over two periods, each of several weeks, either in clearings or in forests. In the first period, there was high leaf coverage (high leaf area index, LAI); in the second, the LAI was low after the autumnal leaf fall. PCBs sequestered in the PUF generally declined with altitude, for example, in the clearings PCBs-28, 52, 90/101, 118, and 138, all showed statistically significant declines (p < 0.05). The mass of HCB sequestered increased with altitude, evidence of cold condensation. Ratios of the forest:clearing concentrations were calculated; this ratio expresses the filtering ability of forests to deplete air concentrations compared to the adjacent clearings. During the high LAI sampling period, these depletion factors ranged between 0.93 and 0.54 and were inversely correlated with temperature-corrected log KOA. This relationship was not observed during the low LAI sampling period. The depletion factors were normalized using the LAI to give a density independent depletion factor (DIDF). The slopes of the correlations with KOA were comparable for broadleaf or coniferous forests at different altitudes, suggesting that leaf surfaces determine the exchanges with air. Broadleaf forests at 1000 and 1400 m showed similar behavior, while a conifer forest at 1800 m gave depletion factors which were higher by about a factor of 2. It is suggested that DIDF can be used in regional environmental fate models to estimate the contribution of forests to contaminant fate.