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Distribution of Butyltin Compounds in the Coastal Environment of the Bahía Blanca Estuary, Argentina


This study evaluates for the first time the distribution and accumulation of butyltin compounds (BTs) in different compartments such as seawater, sediments, suspended particulate matter (SPM), and mussels (Brachidontes rodriguezii) in the Bahía Blanca estuary. The samples were collected from six sampling sites with different anthropogenic impacts. A better visualization and interpretation of data was achieved using chemometric tools (Tucker4 model), which made it possible to reveal the main relationships among the variables. This analysis showed the presence of BTs in all the estuarine environmental compartments, even in sites with low human intervention. The relationships found among BTs levels, seasons, and environmental matrices show the importance of biological processes such as phytoplankton blooms and remobilization of sediments (by tidal dynamics and/or periodic dredging) in BTs distribution and degradation. In addition, partition coefficients showed that mussels mainly bioaccumulate tributyltin from sediment, water and, to a lesser extent, SPM.

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This work was supported by a doctoral grant funded by the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET-Argentina) [PIP D-738 2011]; the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion (ANPCyT) [PICT 2015-0709, PICT 2012-2494], and Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS) [PGI 24/Q054]. This research was part of Pamela Y. Quintas’ Ph.D. thesis.


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Authors and Affiliations



Pamela Y. Quintas: Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing—original draft, Visualization, Software. Andrés H. Arias: Research, Writing—reviewing & editing, Funding acquisition, Supervision. Mónica B. Alvarez: Writing—reviewing & editing. Claudia E. Domini: Writing—reviewing & editing. Mariano Garrido: Conceptualization, Writing—reviewing & editing, Funding acquisition, Supervision, Software. Jorge E. Marcovecchio: Writing—reviewing & editing, Supervision, Funding acquisition.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Pamela Y. Quintas or Mariano Garrido.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest related to this study.

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All data are included in the manuscript or in the Supplementary Material. Further data or information will be supplied upon request.

Supplementary Information

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Seasonal variation of the condition index for all the sites studied (PDF 33 KB)

Deviance plot and its st- coefficients for Tucker4 models of different complexity (TIF 141 KB) (TIF 141 KB)


Determination of butyltin compounds in a) standard solution, b) mussel samples (S5, winter), and c) water sample (S6, winter) by GC-MS. Column: HP-5MS fused silica (30 m; 0.25 mm i.d.; 0.25 μm); carrier helium at a flow rate of 1 mL min-1; split ratio 60:1; injector and ion source temperatures 200°C and 210°C, respectively. Temperature program, 55°C for 1 min, then 20°C min-1 up to 200°C, and 200°C for 5 min.; injection volume, 1 µL. Peak identification: MBT: monobutyltin, DBT: dibutyltin, TPrT: tripropyltin (surrogate standard), TBT: tributyltin, and TeBT: Tetrabutyltin (internal standard) (TIF 94 KB)

Supplementary file4 (DOCX 26 KB)

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Quintas, P.Y., Arias, A.H., Alvarez, M.B. et al. Distribution of Butyltin Compounds in the Coastal Environment of the Bahía Blanca Estuary, Argentina. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 81, 307–323 (2021).

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