Simple Summary Assessing the environmental quality of specific geographical areas, particularly those in proximity to industrial zones or the sites of waste-to-energy plant constructions, emerges as a critical concern in contemporary environmental science. The use of biological indicators, such as bees, represents a noninvasive methodology for environmental monitoring. By taking advantage of the extension of their foraging radius and evaluating the quality of the hive's products, it is possible to obtain an in-depth snapshot of the environmental state of the surrounding area. In the context of our study, the vicinity of the Acerra waste-to-energy plant was first evaluated using bees as bioindicators, thereby aiming to detect the potential presence of hazardous waste combustion byproducts. Following promising initial results, it was decided to look for additional pollutants (such as pesticides, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and establish a second apiary in the Caivano area to further affirm the bees' efficacy in pinpointing specific geographic zones impacted by anthropogenic activities. Research focusing on bees and apiary products underscored the heightened sensitivity of this bioindicator to various environmental pollutants, whose presence delineated the anthropogenic utilization of the studied area.Abstract In recent years, biomonitoring has gained more attention, particularly when assessing the environmental health of significant areas, such as those near waste-to-energy facilities. These requirements coincide with the chance to detect environmental pollutants using sensitive organisms. Bees were shown to be quite effective in evaluating the presence of certain compounds by analyzing their associated matrices, such as pollen, honey, or wax. In our study, we employed the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as an indicator to initially monitor the vicinity of the waste-to-energy plant in Acerra, which is situated in the Campania region of Italy. The primary aim was to determine whether the facility was accountable for any environmental releases of dioxins or dioxin-like compounds. Then, we assessed the presence of additional pollutants in the same area, including trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides, released by human activities. To obtain further information about environmental quality, a second biomonitoring station was installed near the Caivano S.T.I.R. (Waste Shredding, Sifting, and Packaging Plant). The results showed the dioxin levels did not exceed predetermined limitations at the Acerra site, thus demonstrating the efficacy of the waste-to-energy facility and the bees' ability to detect the presence of other pollutants. Additionally, this biomonitoring system exhibited sensitivity to environmental variations, thereby enabling the evaluation of xenobiotic flux between two proximate zones and across temporal scales. This pioneering study suggests the advantages of utilizing bees to detect a wide range of contaminants, thereby providing valuable insights into environmental quality and potential health risks for both ecosystems and human populations.

Use of Honey Bees and Hive Products as Bioindicators to Assess Environmental Contamination in Targeted Areas of the Campania Region (Italy)

Catalano, Patrizio;Cavaliere, Maria;Caioni, Giulia
;
Amorena, Michele
2024-01-01

Abstract

Simple Summary Assessing the environmental quality of specific geographical areas, particularly those in proximity to industrial zones or the sites of waste-to-energy plant constructions, emerges as a critical concern in contemporary environmental science. The use of biological indicators, such as bees, represents a noninvasive methodology for environmental monitoring. By taking advantage of the extension of their foraging radius and evaluating the quality of the hive's products, it is possible to obtain an in-depth snapshot of the environmental state of the surrounding area. In the context of our study, the vicinity of the Acerra waste-to-energy plant was first evaluated using bees as bioindicators, thereby aiming to detect the potential presence of hazardous waste combustion byproducts. Following promising initial results, it was decided to look for additional pollutants (such as pesticides, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and establish a second apiary in the Caivano area to further affirm the bees' efficacy in pinpointing specific geographic zones impacted by anthropogenic activities. Research focusing on bees and apiary products underscored the heightened sensitivity of this bioindicator to various environmental pollutants, whose presence delineated the anthropogenic utilization of the studied area.Abstract In recent years, biomonitoring has gained more attention, particularly when assessing the environmental health of significant areas, such as those near waste-to-energy facilities. These requirements coincide with the chance to detect environmental pollutants using sensitive organisms. Bees were shown to be quite effective in evaluating the presence of certain compounds by analyzing their associated matrices, such as pollen, honey, or wax. In our study, we employed the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as an indicator to initially monitor the vicinity of the waste-to-energy plant in Acerra, which is situated in the Campania region of Italy. The primary aim was to determine whether the facility was accountable for any environmental releases of dioxins or dioxin-like compounds. Then, we assessed the presence of additional pollutants in the same area, including trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides, released by human activities. To obtain further information about environmental quality, a second biomonitoring station was installed near the Caivano S.T.I.R. (Waste Shredding, Sifting, and Packaging Plant). The results showed the dioxin levels did not exceed predetermined limitations at the Acerra site, thus demonstrating the efficacy of the waste-to-energy facility and the bees' ability to detect the presence of other pollutants. Additionally, this biomonitoring system exhibited sensitivity to environmental variations, thereby enabling the evaluation of xenobiotic flux between two proximate zones and across temporal scales. This pioneering study suggests the advantages of utilizing bees to detect a wide range of contaminants, thereby providing valuable insights into environmental quality and potential health risks for both ecosystems and human populations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11575/146300
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