Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals (Zn, Pb, Cd) in Polistes nimphus (Christ, 1791) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) Living on Contaminated Sites
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Department of Botany, Physiology and Plant Protection, Faculty of Biotechnology and Horticulture, University of Agriculture, Kraków, Poland
Submission date: 2019-12-27
Final revision date: 2020-03-04
Acceptance date: 2020-03-04
Online publication date: 2020-07-13
Publication date: 2020-08-05
Corresponding author
Elżbieta Teresa Wojciechowicz-Żytko   

Department of Botany, Physiology and Plant Protection Agricultural University Krakow, al. 29-Listopada 54, 31-425, Kraków, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2020;29(6):4249-4256
The aim of the study was to determine the extent of heavy metal accumulation (Zn, Cd and Pb) in the bodies of females of the predatory species Polistes nimphus (Christ, 1791) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). The insects were captured in areas affected by the proximity of ZGH “Bolesław” – an industrial complex located in Bukowno near Olkusz (southern Poland), whose main activity is mining and processing of lead and zinc ores.
Three sites that differed in terms of distance from the source of contamination and also in the concentrations of Zn, Cd and Pb in the top soil layer were selected. The heavy metal content of the soil was determined for each site. The most contaminated site was located in the immediate vicinity of ZGH “Bolesław” (4326.50 mg/kg Zn, 56.96 mg/kg Cd, 3977.00 mg/kg Pb); the least contaminated was the site furthest away from the source of contamination (48.75 mg/kg Zn, 0.72 mg/kg Cd, 25.43 mg/kg Pb).
On all the sites, during the two-year study (2015-2016), individuals of the genus Polistes were captured and female wasps of the species P. nimphus were isolated from among them. Then the extent of accumulation of Zn, Cd and Pb in their bodies was determined. Correlations between the concentrations of Cd, Zn and Pb in the soil and those in insect bodies were calculated.
On all three sites, in both years of the study, the concentrations of heavy metals in insect bodies changed depending on their concentrations in the soil. The highest levels of the accumulated Zn, Cd and Pb were always observed on the site located in the vicinity of ZGH “Bolesław”. The lowest values were observed on the site furthest away from the source of contamination. The concentrations of all three metals in the bodies of insects increased with their increasing concentrations in the soil, but the differences were not statistically significant.
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