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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments and marine organisms: Implications of anthropogenic effects on the coastal environment

Sun, Runxia, Sun, Yue, Li, Qing X., Zheng, Xiaobo, Luo, Xiaojun, Mai, Bixian
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.640-641 pp. 264-272
anthropogenic activities, bioactive properties, coasts, ecosystems, estuaries, fish, guidelines, humans, lipids, marine sediments, molecular weight, pollution, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk, surveys, tissues, China
Intensive human activities aggravate environmental pollution, particularly in the coastal environment. Sixteen priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in the sediments and marine species from Zhanjiang Harbor, a large harbor in China. The total PAH concentrations ranged from 151 to 453 ng/g dry weight (dw) in sediments and from 86.7 to 256 ng/g wet weight (ww) in organism tissues. High levels of PAHs occurred in the sample sites next to the estuary. A decrease in PAH levels was observed in comparison to the previous survey prior to 2012. Fish exhibited lower lipid weight normalized PAH concentrations than the other species, which may be related to their efficient metabolic transformation. Three ring PAHs dominated both in marine sediments and species, but low molecular weight PAHs exhibited higher proportions in biota than in sediments (p < 0.05). Petrogenic and pyrolytic sources both contributed to the occurrence of PAHs, and the latter became increasingly important in the study area. The ecological risk from PAHs in the sediments was relatively low (9% incidence of adverse biological effect) according to the effects-based sediment quality guideline values. Exposure to PAHs via consuming seafoods might pose a health risk to local residents. Overall, these results revealed anthropogenic activities in the coastal area have an impact on the local ecosystem.