Presence, distribution, and origins of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments from Bahía Blanca estuary, Argentina

  • Andrés H. Arias
  • Alfonso Vazquez-Botello
  • Norma Tombesi
  • Guadalupe Ponce-Vélez
  • Hugo Freije
  • Jorge Marcovecchio


This paper is the first comprehensive survey of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coastal sediments in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, and provides useful information on their levels of concentration, composition, and sources of these pollutants. The total concentrations of PAHs ranged from 15 to 10,260 ng g − 1. The highest contents (mean 3,315 ng g − 1) of total PAHs in marine sediments were found in the inner channels of the estuary, while the lower ones (204 ng g − 1) belong to samples collected far away from contamination sources. The global average recorded in this study (1,500 ng g − 1) indicates that the studied area lies within the referenced category of industrialized coastal zones under chronic pollution. The diagenetic PAH contribution was found to be negligible at all sampled locations; however, the calculation of molecular ratios determined an overimposition of pyrolitic PAHs over the petrogenic input. Further, the use of principal components analysis (PCA) clearly separated ring group compounds and enabled the determination of pyrolitic/combustion PAHs dominancy.


PAHs Sediments Bahía Blanca estuary Molecular ratios PCA 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés H. Arias
    • 1
  • Alfonso Vazquez-Botello
    • 2
  • Norma Tombesi
    • 3
  • Guadalupe Ponce-Vélez
    • 2
  • Hugo Freije
    • 3
  • Jorge Marcovecchio
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO)CCT-CONICETBahía BlancaArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)México D.F.México
  3. 3.Química AmbientalUniversidad Nacional del SurBahía BlancaRep. Argentina

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