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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mountain soils of the subtropical Atlantic

AuthorsRibes, Alejandra; Grimalt, Joan O. ; Torres García, Carlos J.; Cuevas, Emilio
KeywordsPolycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Total Organic Carbon (TOC)
Mountain soils
Subtropical areas
Issue DateMay-2003
PublisherAmerican Society of Agronomy
CitationJournal of Environmental Quality 32(3): 977-987 (2003)
AbstractSurface soil samples from various altitudes on Tenerife Island, ranging from sea level up to 3400 m above mean sea level, were analyzed to study the distribution of 26 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a remote subtropical area. The stable atmospheric conditions in this island define three vertically stratified layers: marine boundary, trade-wind inversion, and free troposphere. Total PAH concentrations, 1.9 to 6000 µg/kg dry wt., were high when compared with those in tropical areas and in a similar range to those in temperate areas. In the marine boundary layer, fluoranthene (Fla), pyrene (Pyr), benz[a]anthracene (BaA), and chrysene (C + T) were largely dominant. The predominance of Fla over Pyr may reflect photo-oxidative processes during atmospheric transport, although coal combustion inputs cannot be excluded. The PAHs found in higher concentration in the soils from the inversion layer were benzo[b + j]fluoranthene (BbjF) + benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkF) > benzo[e]pyrene (BeP) {approx} indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (Ind) > benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) {cong} benzo[ghi]perylene (Bghi) > coronene (Cor) {cong} dibenz[a,h]anthracene (Dib), reflecting that high temperatures and insolation prevent the accumulation of PAHs more volatile than BbjF in significant amounts. These climatic conditions involve a process of standardization that prevents the identification of specific PAH sources such as traffic, forest fires, or industrial inputs. Only soils with high total organic carbon (TOC) (e.g., 10–30%) preserve the more volatile compounds such as phenanthrene (Phe), methylphenanthrenes (MPhe), dimethylphenanthrenes (DMPhe), and retene (Ret). However, no relation between PAHs and soil TOC and black carbon (BC) was found. The specific PAH distributions of the free tropospheric region suggest a direct input from pyrolytic processes related to the volcanic emission of gases in Teide.
Description11 pages, 4 figures, 4 tables.-- PMID: 12809298 [PubMed].
Publisher version (URL)http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/full/32/3/977
ISSN0047-2425 (Print)
Appears in Collections:(IDAEA) Artículos
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