Mosses for Bio-Monitoring and Depollution

Mosses draw their nutrients from the air through rainwater. They thus collect and accumulate metals, pesticides, NO2, etc. That is why they are is used as bio-indicators of air pollution and for depollution.


(Biomonitoring of Atmospheric Metallic Fallout by Mosses)

  • For 20 years, every 5 years, a European campaign has taken place which consists of collecting mosses in forests far from known sources of pollution (industrial sites, transport routes) in order to measure the background presence of the various pollutants.
  • In France, about 500 sites per campaign are investigated.
  • 13 metals including aknowledged toxic elements e.g. Cd, Hg, Ni, Pb and suspected toxic ones e.g. Al, Fe, V, Zn are monitored
    Example of BRAMM result

Industrial site monitoring

  • Some industrial sites e.g. incineration plants are equipped with moss transplants. Samples are regularly collected to monitor the resulting pollution.
    Industrial pollution monitoring using mosses

Depollution along the roads

A German study showed that 1m² of moss annually absorbs the amount of microparticles produced by a diesel car traveling 1000 km. In Germany, moss mats have been installed on the side of highways to mitigate microparticle pollution.

Other initiatives :

Système Filtréo de JCDecaux : un tapis de mousse est placé au-dessus d’un abribus pour limiter la pollution aux microparticules.
Moss-based street furniture
Installation of a pollution mitigation system alongside a road

A wall irrigated by polluted water
  • The (vertical) walls ultimately collect very little water (in liquid or gaseous form).
  • Horizontal or vertical solutions irrigated with polluted water would a priori be more effective
  • It remains to quantify the pollution actually absorbed according to the devices

In the same section…