Plants and Environmental Quality

Plants are effective bioindicators of pollution and other anthropogenic impacts affecting biodiversity, productivity and stability of ecosystems as well as the quality of food and human life.

Our group is especially interested in fundamental and applied collaborative research - with partners in academia, industry and public sector - focusing on biological effects of environmental changes due to natural or man-made disturbances, notably the effects of pollutants on sensitive organisms and biogeochemical cycling of elements.

The main sectors investigated are:

- agroecology (plant-soil relationship)

- plant-based applications (biochar, wood vinegar, chitin)

- biomonitoring (trace metals, microplastics)

- biogeochemistry of toxic metals (mercury, arsenic)

Ongoing Research:

- Lichen biomonitoring of air quality in urban and industrial areas

- Environmental justice and air quality

- Magnetic biomonitoring of air pollution

- Heavy metals and microplastics in the 2020 European moss survey

- Chemical equilibrium in lichens: mechanisms and kinetics of element uptake and loss

- Implications of metal-chitin interactions for environmental analytics

- Biochar-based air filtration systems

- Biochar for soil remediation under mercury pollution

- Accumulation of airborne microplastics in lichens

- Geographical traceability of giant garlic from Valdichiana by means of the relationship between soil geochemistry and plant composition

- Geographical traceability of extra virgin olive oil from Valdichiana by means of the relationship between soil geochemistry and plant composition

- Effects of atmospheric ozone on lichens and mosses

- Evaluation of the environmental friendliness of wood vinegar

- Effects of Cd and Pb pollution on Hypericum

- Chemical and biological methods for the removal of lichens from monuments

- Passive samplers and lichens for monitoring atmospheric mercury concentrations



Stefano Loppi - Associate Professor

Fabrizio Monaci  - Assistant Professor

Andrea Vannini - Postdoc

Elisabetta Bianchi – Postdoc

Giulia Canali – Postdoc

Riccardo Fedeli – Postdoc

Viviana Maresca – Postdoc

Tania Contardo - PhD Student

Martina Grattacaso – PhD sudent

Mehriban Jafarova – PhD Student

Massimo Guarnieri - Technician

Funded Projects

- Lichen biomonitoring of air quality around the gas compression plant of Sulmona (Saipem SpA)

- Lichen biomonitoring of air quality around the Cassero landfill dumping site (Herambiente SpA)

- Mapping gaseous elemental mercury concentrations and source identification in the Mt. Amiata Area (Unione dei Comuni Amiata Val d'Orcia)

- Bio-based solutions for the control of lichens and biofilms on stone cultural heritage (Regione Toscana)

- Geographical traceability of extra-virgin olive oil from Valdichiana Senese (Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano e dei Sapori della Valdichiana Senese)

- Geographical traceability of giant garlich from Valdichiana (Regione Toscana)

- European Moss Monitoring Project (Joint Nuclear Research Institute, Dubna, Russia)



Aldo Winkler (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome)

Adriana Basile (University of Naples Federico II)

Sergio Sorbo (University of Naples Federico II)

Luca Paoli (University of Pisa)

Paolo Giordani (University of Genoa)

Juri Nascimbene (University of Bologna)

Sergio Favero (University of Turin)

Sonia Ravera (University of Palermo)

Renato Benesperi (University of Florence)

Mauro Tretiach (University of Trieste)

Cristina Nali (University of Pisa)

Mario Pica (Bioredox, Rome)

Giorgio Brunialti (Terradata Environmentrics, Monterotondo Marittimo)

Luisa Frati (Terradata Environmentrics, Monterotondo Marittimo)

Rossano Bolpagni (University of Parma)

Antonio Tiezzi (University of Viterbo)



Julian Aherne (Trent University, Canada)

Damien Cuny (University of Lille, France)

Stefan Fraenzle (Technical University of Dresden, Germany)

Marina Frontasyeva (Joint Nuclear Research Institute, Dubna, Russia)

Mira Anicic Urosevic (Environmental Physics Laboratory, Belgrade, Serbia)

Peace Gloria Lamaro (Makelle University, Ethiopia)

Klaudia Borowiak (Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poland)

Gisela Diaz Espejo (University of Elche, Spain)

Sofia Augusto (Rovira i Virgili University, Terragona, Spain)

Anna Guttova (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Martin Backor (Safarik University of Kosice, Slovakia)

Stergios Arg. Pirintsos (University of Crete, Greece)

Zaida Kosonen (FUB-Research group for Environmental Monitoring, Switzertland)

Frank Wania (University of Toronto, Canada)

Silvana Munzi (University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Irena Januskaitiene (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania)