What potential do mosses have as biomonitors of POPs? A comparative study of hexachlorocyclohexane sorption

Z. Chaos*, J. A. Fernández, M. Balseiro-Romero, M. Celeiro, C. García-Jares, A. Méndez, P. Pérez-Alonso, B. Estébanez, J. Kaal, K. G.J. Nierop, J. R. Aboal, C. Monterroso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) pose a significant global threat to human health and the environment, and require continuous monitoring due to their ability to migrate long distances. Active biomonitoring using cloned mosses is an inexpensive but underexplored method to assess POPs, mainly due to the poor understanding of the loading mechanisms of these pollutants in mosses. In this work, Fontinalis antipyretica (aquatic moss) and Sphagnum palustre (terrestrial moss) were evaluated as potential biomonitors of hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs: α-, β-, γ-, δ-HCH), crucial POPs. Moss clones, grown in photobioreactors and subsequently oven-dried, were used. Their lipid composition and distribution were characterized through molecular and histochemical studies. Adsorption experiments were carried out in the aqueous phase using the repeated additions method and in the gas phase using an active air sampling technique based on solid-phase extraction, a pioneering approach in moss research. F. antipyretica exhibited greater lipid content in the walls of most cells and higher adsorption capacity for all HCH isomers in both gaseous and liquid environments. These findings highlight the need for further investigation of POP loading mechanisms in mosses and open the door to explore other species based on their lipid content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173021
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2024


  • Biomonitoring
  • Fontinalis antipyretica
  • Lindane
  • Persistent organic pollutant
  • Sphagnum palustre


Dive into the research topics of 'What potential do mosses have as biomonitors of POPs? A comparative study of hexachlorocyclohexane sorption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this