Distribution of aliphatic compounds in bivalve mollusks from Galicia after the Prestige oil spill: spatial and temporal trends

N Carro, J Cobas, J Maneiro
Environmental Research 2006, 100 (3): 339-48
The content and distribution of n-alkane (C8-C35) and isoprenoid (pristane and phytane) hydrocarbons were investigated in two species of bivalve mollusk, mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and cockle (Cerastoderma edule), collected at different points of the Galicia littoral zone during the period from December 2002 to February 2003 (after the Prestige oil spill). Samples were analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionization detector. The highest levels were found in mussels and cockles coming from two estuarine bays, Rías de Arousa and Vigo. Hydrocarbons with carbon chain length > 30 were detected and determined in all samples. The abundance of these hydrocarbons in biota could be interpreted with regard to the feeding and living habits. Chemometric techniques have been employed to analyze data and determine the potential source of hydrocarbon contamination. Differences between mussels and cockles were observed in relation to aliphatic content. According to the data analysis, the main source of hydrocarbon contamination of investigated samples seems to be more related to the intense traffic of vessels in these estuarine bays than to the Prestige oil spill.

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