The use of Higher Plants as Bio-Indicators of Environmental Pollution – A New Approach for Toxicity Screening in Albania
The purpose of this paper was to give an information review of some higher plants as: Allium cepa, Tradescantia genus, Vicia
faba, Pisum sativum, Zea mays, Nicotiana tabacum, Lycopersicon esculentum, Lemna minor, etc., which can be properly used as bioindicators
for assessing and predicting pollution toxicity and environmental changes in Albania. Plants, apart their structure and
metabolic priorities, can give essential information and data about the potential toxicity of substances, even when exposed in short term
and low concentrations. They offer advantages against animals as bioindicators, because of the low cultivation cost, easier maintenance,
ethically and esthetically acceptable handle. The plant assays can: be carried out under a wide range of environmental conditions, give
access to the cito/genotoxic potential of known/unknown simple substances or even complex mixtures (present in water, soil and air) and
have shown correlations with cytogenetic assays in mammals. In many sensitive species chemicals induce specific morphological and
phyiological changes. Sometimes the same plant species may act as both indicator and accumulator for a special pollutant. Plants are
direct recipients of agro-toxics and therefore important material for environmental monitoring of places affected by such pollutants. All
above mentioned higher plants are part of Albanian wild and cultivated vegetation, so as a conclusion plant toxicity screening methods
can provide a new approach, potentially applicable in Albania as a developing country, where chemical pollution monitoring is really
expensive. Additionally simple plant bio-tests can be included in Albanian curricula.
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