Soil and Atmospheric Inputs to PAH Concentrations in Salt Marsh Plants


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in two wetland plant species grown outdoors in pots of sediment contaminated with up to 730,000 μg/kg total PAHs. After approximately 3 months, the plants were harvested, cleaned, and analyzed for an expanded suite of PAHs which included both the 16 priority PAHs and 22 alkyl PAH homologs. Sediment and air samples were also collected and analyzed. PAH compounds were detected in all of the samples, with the highest concentrations in the contaminated sediment. The root sample concentrations were generally about one order of magnitude lower than that of the sediment, and were strongly correlated with the concentration in the sediment in which they were grown. The concentrations in foliage were much lower and did not correlate with sediment concentration. Concentrations of low molecular weight PAH compounds detected in the foliage were not significantly lower in plants grown in control sediments, suggesting that the sediment is not the primary source of these PAHs. Several high molecular weight PAHs were detected only in plants grown in contaminated sediment. Plants of both species grown in control sediment were larger than plants grown in contaminated sediment.


Civil Engineering

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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution



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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007