An evaluation is reported of methods used to prepare mosses for analysis when required for monitoring metal pollution. Fontinalis antipyretica and Rhynchostegium riparioides taken from the River Hoëgne, Belgium, were used for the study. The stages in preparation studied critically were the storage of the moss after it had been collected from the river, washing, choice of which particular fraction to use and the conditions for final drying prior to digestion. For any one particular treatment, the concentrations of metals analysed (Ca, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb) were usually lower in Fontinalis than Rhynchostegium. Metal concentrations found as a result of the various treatments differed markedly for some metals, including Zn, Cd and Pb. However no one sequence of methods is ideal for all purposes. Criteria that need to be considered when selecting methods include the time and facilities available and whether the moss is to be used for monitoring long-term or short-term pollution. © 1983.
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