Organic pollutants (PAHs, PCBs) in sediments from the Mar Piccolo in Taranto (Ionian Sea, Southern Italy)

Nicola Cardellicchio, Alessandro Buccolieri, Santina Giandomenico, Luigi Lopez, Filomena Pizzulli, Lucia Spada
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2007, 55 (10-12): 451-8
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 17 parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in surface sediments from nine stations in the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (Ionian Sea, Southern Italy). Total PAH concentrations ranged from 380 to 12,750 microg/kg d.w., while total PCB levels ranged from 2 to 1684 microg/kg d.w.; this values were higher than those found in others marine coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea. For PAHs, low molecular weight/high molecular weight, phenanthrene/anthracene and fluoranthene/pyrene ratio were used for discriminating between pyrolitic and petroleum origin. Results showed that PAHs were mainly of pyrolitic origin. PCB and PAH levels in sediments were compared with Sediments Quality Guidelines (ERM-ERL, TEL-PEL indexes) for evaluation probable toxic effects on marine organism. Finally, ERM and PEL quotients were used to evaluate the degree to which chemicals exceed guidelines. Results suggest an ecotoxicological risk for benthic organisms mainly in the first inlet, where high concentrations of PCBs were found in sediments influenced by harbour activities.

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