Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 7, pp 4299–4307 | Cite as

Changes in the heavy metal and nutrient contents of dried feather mosses during long-term storage

  • Jarmo Poikolainen
  • Juha Piispanen
  • Jouni Karhu
  • Reijo Seppänen
  • Eero Kubin


This study measured heavy metal and nutrient concentrations of two feather mosses during the periods of dry storage. Samples (Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi) were collected in the nationwide moss surveys carried out on the permanent sample plots of the 8th Finnish National Forest Inventory in 1985–86, 1990, 1995 and 2000. A small amount of each moss sample was analyzed soon after collection, and the remainder was dried and stored at the Paljakka environmental specimen bank (ESB). The 108 stored samples from 27 plots were reanalyzed in 2008. Concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Zn) and nutrients (Ca, K, Mg, P) were determined and compared for each survey year. Overall, Fe, Pb and Cr concentrations decreased, and Cu concentrations increased significantly during storage. The greatest decrease was observed in samples from plots where their initial concentrations were the highest. Changes in the concentrations of Cd, Ni and Zn were less pronounced. The loss of heavy metals is likely due to drying when cell membranes rupture and some of the surface material is lost. K, P and, to some extent, Mg concentrations increased during storage, whereas Ca did not change significantly. Nutrient increase is probably due to their movement from older to younger growths during the initial phase of drying. Ca is mostly bound to cell walls and is not easily released. Results emphasize the importance of establishing the intended use of a stored moss prior to sampling, in order to select and optimize an appropriate storage technique.


Mosses Heavy metals Nutrients Dry storage Concentrations 



The authors would like to thank all those who participated in the collection, storage and analysis of the moss samples. The pre-treatment and digestion of samples were processed in the laboratory of the Muhos Research Station and Paljakka ESB (Finnish Forest Research Institute, FFRI). The analyses were performed in the laboratory of FFRI in Vantaa. Irene Murtovaara finished the figures, and Michael Hardman (Lucidia) revised the language.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jarmo Poikolainen
    • 1
  • Juha Piispanen
    • 1
  • Jouni Karhu
    • 1
  • Reijo Seppänen
    • 1
  • Eero Kubin
    • 1
  1. 1.Finnish Forest Research InstituteOulu UnitUniversity of OuluFinland

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