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Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other organic pollutants in freshwaters on the western shore of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, Maritime Antarctica)

Szopińska, Małgorzata, Szumińska, Danuta, Bialik, Robert Józef, Dymerski, Tomasz, Rosenberg, Erwin, Polkowska, Żaneta
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.18 pp. 18143-18161
air, alkanes, ecosystems, ethylbenzene, freshwater, fuels, glaciers, molecular weight, pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, summer, toluene, Antarctic region, Antarctica, South America
Organic contamination in freshwater samples has never been investigated at the western shore of Admiralty Bay. Therefore, the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in five different sites distributed along a shore running from the Arctowski Station to the Baranowski Glacier was studied. Moreover, organic compounds such as n-alkanes, toluene and ethylbenzene were also noted. Increased ΣPAHs in late Austral summer 2016 are the result of long-range atmospheric transport of air masses from South America, confirmed by 10-day backward air mass trajectories analysis. The presence of n-alkanes and other hydrocarbons, as well as the evaluation of PAH indices (e.g. ΣLMW/ΣHMW* > 1), shows the use of fuel and indicate local human activity. As a final conclusion, our analysis indicates a mixed origin of PAHs (global and local). The presence of PAHs and other hydrocarbons in the water environment may constitute a potentially negative effect on the Antarctic ecosystem and it should be investigated in detail during further research (//*ΣLMW—sum of low molecular weight PAHs (two- and three-ring PAHs); ΣHMW—sum of high molecular weight PAHs (four- and five-ring PAHs)//). Graphical abstract