Main content area

Rare earths, zirconium and hafnium distribution in coastal areas: The example of Sabella spallanzanii (Gmelin, 1791)

Parisi, M.G., Cammarata, I., Cammarata, M., Censi, V.
Chemosphere 2017 v.185 pp. 268-276
Styela plicata, binding sites, bioaccumulation factor, coasts, dust, fractionation, geochemistry, hafnium, iron, power plants, tissues, traffic, zirconium, Sicily
The Zr, Hf, Y and lanthanide (REE) distribution in biological tissues of Sabella spallanzanii and Styela plicata species collected from two harbours from the northern Sicily is studied for providing information regarding the Zr, Hf and REE uptake from the environment. Previous studies determined the fractionation of dissolved REE scavenged on binding sites onto biological surfaces. By comparing the recognised shale-normalised REE patterns of studied samples with evidence from reference data, the observed behaviour of these elements in biological tissues of Sabella spallanzanii and Styela plicata is interpreted to result from the preferential uptake of intermediate REE onto carboxylic sites. Moreover, the relationship observed between the Fe content and Zr/Hf ratio suggests that preferential Hf accumulation occurs via siderophore-like binding sites. Features of the REE bioaccumulation factors (BAF), in addition to the absolute La, Ce and Sm contents and Zr-Hf fractionation, allow definition of the different origins of studied elements in the investigated localities. Higher BAF values for La and Ce associated with larger REE contents and lower Zr/Hf values strongly suggest that the environmental REE distribution in the Termini Imerese harbour is influenced by the delivery of particles from industrial sources and power plants. On the contrary, the REE contents of biological tissues collected in the Cala tourist harbour are affected by the dust dissolution from automotive traffic. These results suggest that the geochemical behaviour of REE and Zr/Hf signature can be used in environmental studies of biological tissues for reconstructing the nature of anthropogenic contaminations.