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Contamination of Pastures by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Vicinity of a Highway

Crépineau, Cécile, Rychen, G., Feidt, C., Le Roux, Y., Lichtfouse, E., Laurent, F.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2003 v.51 no.16 pp. 4841-4845
grasses, pastures, phenanthrene, physicochemical properties, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, rural areas, soil, soil sampling
To assess PAH contamination pastures, grass and soil samples have been collected from 10 m (d1), 50 m (d2), and 150 m (d3) perpendicular to a French highway (70 000 vehicles per day) and at a control site in a rural area away from nearby contaminating sources. Total PAH concentration ranges from 767 ng/g dry weight to 3989 ng/g dry weight, according to the matrix and the distance from the highway. Distance is not a significant factor for PAH deposition on grass, while in soil it has an effect between d1 and d2 or d3. The total PAH concentration in highway samples is 8 times higher than in control site samples for grass and 7 to 4 times higher for soil. Fluoranthene, pyrene, and phenanthrene are the major PAHs in grass samples at the control site and the highway, but the concentrations are about 5 times higher near the highway. In soil samples collected near the highway, the values of concentrations between all compounds are not statistically different. PAH deposition on grass is linked to the physicochemical properties of the compounds, which lead to a specific distribution of each molecule (according to their volatility and the number of aromatic rings) while no specific behavior is revealed in soil.