Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments of the amazon coast: evidence for localized sources in contrast to massive regional biomass burning
Pichler, N.; Maria de Souza, F.; Ferreira dos Santos, V.; Martins, C.C. (2021). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments of the amazon coast: evidence for localized sources in contrast to massive regional biomass burning. Environ. Pollut. 268: 115958. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115958
In: Environmental Pollution. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0269-7491; e-ISSN 1873-6424, more
The Amazon coastal zone has become contaminated with organic pollutants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). However, information about their distribution and sources in this area is scarce, despite increasing deforestation and oil exploitation. Therefore, individual PAHs were analysed in the sediments of the Oyapock estuary, which is located in the Amazon coastal zone. This study provides information about the spatial and short-term temporal distributions of PAHs and discusses the major sources of PAHs to better understand the anthropogenic processes occurring in adjacent areas. The concentrations of all sixteen priority PAHs defined by the US EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency, ∑16PAHs) ranged from 10.9 to 138.8 ng g−1 with a mean and standard deviation = 37.9 ± 20.5 and indicated that this estuary is not contaminated, while the mean levels were similar to those found in other Amazon regions and pristine areas along the coast of Brazil. No significant differences were found in the sedimentary PAHs levels between the wet and dry sampling campaigns, despite the different climatic conditions. Diagnostic ratios, positive matrix factorization (PMF) and cluster analysis have shown that the majority of the investigated PAHs were derived from combustion processes (at least 55.1%, as estimated by the PMF model). Localized source inputs from oil and its by-products concomitantly with natural/biogenic sources appear to be secondary sources. The PAH contribution from biomass and wood combustion was approximately 13.6% and was relatively lower than other regions of the Amazon that are undergoing massive biomass burning. As the first study of PAHs in this region, this study provides vital information on the healthy state of the estuary and can serve as a baseline for assessing the impacts of acute oil disasters or the chronic input of PAHs as a result of human settlements.