Occurrence and toxicological assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in marine sediments under mussel farming influence
The use of marine resources for mussel culture has become increasingly important, particularly on the European Atlantic coast and notably in the Galician Rías in the northwest of Spain. Despite its importance, there is a lack of research and analysis in this area and of the potential problems that it could cause to the environment. This paper details the findings of a study that aimed to find the probable environmental impact of mussel culture activities and to evaluate the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) content derived from this activity. The Ría de Arousa, where you can find over 70% of all installed rafts in Galicia, was selected for the present study, and nearly 40 marine sediment samples were collected there. The sediments were extracted by ASE (accelerated solvent extraction) procedure, and the quantification of PAHs was performed using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS), with the aid of deuterated PAH internal standards. The total concentration of parental PAHs ranged from 11.66 to 30,272-ng g−1 dry weight (d.w.), with a mean value of 3907-ng g−1 d.w.; the concentration of alkyl PAHs varied from 3.72 to 1187-ng g−1 d.w., with a mean value of 205.1-ng g−1 d.w. Compositional patterns, principal component analysis (PCA) and hieratical cluster association (HCA) yielded a sediment classification where the mussel raft impact is pointed out. PAH ratios indicated a predominance of combustion sources, except in two samples, located in small harbors. Only one station showed total potential carcinogenic PAH values in the range that would frequently cause negative biological effects, and the toxic equivalent concentrations based on BaP equivalents identified another ten positions where biological effects would occur occasionally.
KeywordsPAH Marine sediments Mussel farming Toxicology
The authors thank M. López Rodriguez and G. Fernández Carrera and the technical staff of the Marine Pollution Department at IEO-Vigo, as well as the officers and crew of R/V José María Navaz for assistance in sample collection and preparation. Special thanks to M.A. Franco, head of the cruise in which the samples were collected and who gave us her support and help. We would also like to thank Valentín Trujillo for his collaboration in the statistical analysis of the data.
The study was funded by a Fund Management Agreement between the IEO and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (2010–2012).
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