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The relationship of chromophoric dissolved organic matter parallel factor analysis fluorescence and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in natural surface waters

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a large group of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), have caused wide environmental pollution and ecological effects. Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), which consists of complex compounds, was seen as a proxy of water quality. An attempt was made to understand the relationships of CDOM absorption parameters and parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) components with PAHs under seasonal variation in the riverine, reservoir, and urban waters of the Yinma River watershed in 2016. These different types of water bodies provided wide CDOM and PAHs concentration ranges with CDOM absorption coefficients at a wavelength of 350 nm (a CDOM(350)) of 1.17–20.74 m−1 and total PAHs of 0–1829 ng/L. CDOM excitation-emission matrix (EEM) presented two fluorescent components, e.g., terrestrial humic-like (C1) and tryptophan-like (C2) were identified using PARAFAC. Tryptophan-like associated protein-like fluorescence often dominates the EEM signatures of sewage samples. Our finding is that seasonal CDOM EEM-PARAFAC and PAHs concentration showed consistent tendency indicated that PAHs were un-ignorable pollutants. However, the disparities in seasonal CDOM-PAH relationships relate to the similar sources of CDOM and PAHs, and the proportion of PAHs in CDOM. Overlooked and poorly appreciated, quantifying the relationship between CDOM and PAHs has important implications, because these results simplify ecological and health-based risk assessment of pollutants compared to the traditional chemical measurements.

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This study were financially supported by the National Major Program of Water Pollution Control and Treatment Technology of China under Grant No. 2014ZX07201-011-002 (2014–2017) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO.41601382).

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Correspondence to Jiquan Zhang or Kaishan Song.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Li, S., Chen, Y., Zhang, J. et al. The relationship of chromophoric dissolved organic matter parallel factor analysis fluorescence and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in natural surface waters. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 1428–1438 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0580-3

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  • PAHs
  • Parallel factor analysis
  • Chromophoric dissolved organic matter
  • POPs
  • Tryptophan-like