Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and surface sediments from Daya Bay, China

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Journal Article
Environmental Pollution, 2003, 121 (2), pp. 269 - 281
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Marine culture is thriving in China and represents a major component of the regional economy in coastal zones, yet the environmental quality of many of those areas has never been studied. This paper attempts to investigate the quality status of Daya Bay, a key aquaculture area in China. The levels of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in water and sediment samples of the bay. The total concentrations of 16 PAHs varied from 4228 to 29 325 ng l-1 in water, and from 115 to 1134 ng g-1 dry weight in sediments. In comparison to many other marine systems studied, the PAH levels in Daya Bay waters were relatively high, and at six sites they were sufficiently high (>10 μg l-1) to cause acute toxicity. The PAH composition pattern in sediments suggest dominance by medium to high molecular weight compounds, and the ratio of certain related PAHs indicate important pyrolytic and petrogenic sources. Further analysis showed that the distribution coefficient (KD) increased with the particular organic carbon content of sediments, consistent with the PAH partition theory. The organic carbon normalised distribution coefficient (Koc) also increased with the compounds' octanol/water partition coefficient (Kow), confirming the potential applicability of the linear free energy relationships in the modelling and prediction of PAH behaviour in marine environments. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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