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Vol. 16 No. 1 - January 2010

Pyxine cocoes Nyl. - A Foliose Lichen as a Potential
Bioindicator/Biomonitor of Air Pollution in Philippines: An Update

By: Isidro T. Savillo*

In the 1990s, literatures identifying pollution tolerant lichens have started to proliferate. In Europe, a lichen known as Lecanora conizaeoides hit the limelight by being recognized as a pollution tolerant lichen against sulfur dioxide, one of the most notorious atmospheric pollutants.

However in Asia, there was no specific pollution tolerant lichen that can be used to gauge the environment’s air pollution index. Therefore, in the present study, growth of lichens common in an urban area in the Philippines, were examined. A foliose lichen known as Pyxine cocoes (Swartz) Nyl. (Physciaceae) was identified to be the most abundant common species in the busy district parks of the Iloilo city including a church yard. This species is recommended as a possible bioindicator for atmospheric pollution. Six years after this report, W. Gruezo a lichenologist from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and his team reported the ubiquitousness and abundance of P. cocoes. Their study area spanned four Metro Manila sites and two sites near and around coal fired power plants where they concluded that the lichen P. cocoes as being abundant and ubiquitous in all their six study sites. Hence they considered it as potential biomonitor for atmospheric pollution after analyzing the samples for several air pollution related elements using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. This finding has supported the first pioneering report of the present author in 2003 in the Philippines regarding the common abundance of this lichen and its usefulness in determining atmospheric pollution.

*Professor of Lichenology, P.O. Box 203, Iloilo City, Philippines 5000

E-mail: lichens_2001@yahoo.com

This article has been reproduced from the archives of EnviroNews - Newsletter of ISEB India.

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