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Concept: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Concentrations of 22 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were estimated for individual particle-size distributions at the airport apron of the Taipei International Airport, Taiwan, on 48 days in July, September, October, and December of 2011. In total, 672 integrated air samples were collected using a micro-orifice uniform deposition impactor (MOUDI) and a nano-MOUDI. Particle-bound PAHs (P-PAHs) were analyzed by gas chromatography with mass selective detector (GC/MSD). The five most abundant species of P-PAHs on all sampling days were naphthalene (NaP), phenanthrene (PA), fluoranthene (FL), acenaphthene (AcP), and pyrene (Pyr). Total P-PAHs concentrations were 152.21, 184.83, and 188.94 ng/m(3) in summer, autumn, and winter, respectively. On average, the most abundant fractions of benzo[a]pyrene equivalent concentration (BaPeq) in different molecular weights were high-weight PAHs (79.29 %), followed by medium-weight PAHs (11.57 %) and low-weight PAHs (9.14 %). The mean BaPeq concentrations were 1.25 and 0.94 (ng/m(3)) in ultrafine particles (<0.1 μm) and nano-particles (<0.032 μm), respectively. The percentages of total BaPeq in nano- and ultrafine particulate size ranges were 52.4 % and 70.15 %, respectively.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Aromaticity, Airport, Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene, Fluoranthene


The arenium acid [mesitylene-H]+ has been shown to be an extraordinarily active H/D exchange catalyst for the perdeuteration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The reactions take place under ambient conditions in C6D6 as an inexpensive deuterium source. High isolated yields and excellent degrees of deuterium incorporation were achieved using the substrates para-terphenyl, fluoranthene, pyrene, triphenylene, and corannulene.

Concepts: Hydrogen, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Organic chemistry, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene, Fluoranthene


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are diverse organic contaminants released into the environment by both natural and anthropogenic activities. These compounds have negative impacts on plants growth and development. Although there are many reports on their existence in different parts of plant, their uptake and translocation pathways and mechanisms are not well understood yet. This paper highlights the uptake, translocation and accumulation of PAHs by wheat, sunflower and alfalfa through an experimental study under controlled conditions. Seeds were cultivated in a soil containing 50 mg/kg of phenanthrene and fluorene and their concentrations in plants roots and shoots were determined using a gas chromatograph after 7 and 14 days. The results showed that phenanthrene and fluorene concentrations in the treated plants were increased over the time. PAHs bioavailability was time and species dependent and generally, phenanthrene uptake and translocation was faster than that of fluorene, probably due to their higher Kow. Fluorene tended to accumulate in roots, but phenanthrene was transported to aerial parts of plants.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Root, Seed, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, Anthracene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) tend to be associated with suspended particles in surface aquatic systems, however, the bioavailability of HOCs on suspended particles to fish is not well understood. In this study, a passive dosing device was used to control the freely dissolved concentrations (Cfree) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) including fluoranthene and pyrene, and the influence of particle-associated PAHs on their bioaccumulation by zebrafish was investigated. The results showed that, when the Cfreeof PAHs were kept constant, the presence of suspended particles did not significantly affect the steady state of PAH bioaccumulation in zebrafish tissues excluding head and digestive tracts, suggesting that the bioaccumulation steady state was controlled by the freely dissolved concentrations of PAHs. However, suspended particles promoted the uptake and elimination rate constants of PAHs in zebrafish body excluding head and digestive tracts. The uptake rate constants with 0.5 g/L suspended particles were approximately twice of those without suspended particles, and the body burden in zebrafish increased by 16.4% - 109.3% for pyrene and 21.8% - 490.4% for fluoranthene during the first 8-d exposure. This was due to the reasons that suspended particles could be ingested, and part of PAHs associated with them could be desorbed in digestive tract and absorbed by the zebfrafish, leading to the enhancement of uptake rates of PAHs in zebfrafish. The findings obtained from this study indicate that PAHs on suspended particles are partly bioavailable to zebrafish and particle ingestion is an important route in PAH bioaccumulation. Therefore, it is important to consider the bioavailability of HOCs on suspended particles to improve ecological risk assessment.

Concepts: Digestive system, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Organic chemistry, Digestion, Aromaticity, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene, Fluoranthene


A hard cap espresso machine has been used in combination with liquid chromatography with molecular fluorescence detection for the determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from contaminated soils and sediments providing appropriate extraction efficiencies and quantitative results. Naphthalene, acenaphthene, fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benz[b]fluoranthene, benz[k]fluoranthene, benz[a]pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, benz[ghi]perylene, and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene were used as target compounds. It should be mentioned that the pairs benz[a]anthracene-chrysene and dibenz[a,h]anthracene-benz[ghi]perylene peaks coelute under the employed chromatographic conditions; thus, those compounds were determined together. PAHs were extracted from 5.0 g of soil, previously homogenized, freeze-dried, and sieved to 250 μm, with 50 mL of 40 % (v/v) acetonitrile in water at a temperature of 72 ± 3 ⁰C. The proposed procedure is really fast, with an extraction time of 11 seconds, and it reduces the required amount of organic solvent to do the sample preparation. The obtained limit of detection for the evaluated PAHs was from 1 to 38 µg kg-1. Recoveries were calculated using clean soils spiked with 100, 500, 1000, and 2000 µg kg-1 PAHs with values ranging from 81 to 121%, and good precision with relative standard deviation values lower than 30%. The method was validated using soil and sediment certified reference materials, and also using real samples by comparison with ultrasound-assisted extraction, as reference methodology, obtaining statistically comparable results. Thus, the use of hard cap espresso machines in the analytical laboratories offers tremendous possibilities as low cost extraction units for the extraction of solid samples.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Standard deviation, Anthracene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene


Active-sampling approaches are commonly used for personal monitoring, but are limited by energy usage and data that may not represent an individual’s exposure or bioavailable concentrations. Current passive techniques often involve extensive preparation, or are developed for only a small number of targeted compounds. In this work, we present a novel application for measuring bioavailable exposure with silicone wristbands as personal passive samplers. Laboratory methodology affecting precleaning, infusion, and extraction were developed from commercially available silicone, and chromatographic background interference was reduced after solvent cleanup with good extraction efficiency (>96%). After finalizing laboratory methods, 49 compounds were sequestered during an ambient deployment which encompassed a diverse set of compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), consumer products, personal care products, pesticides, phthalates, and other industrial compounds ranging in log Kow from -0.07 (caffeine) to 9.49 (tris(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate). In two hot asphalt occupational settings, silicone personal samplers sequestered 25 PAHs during 8- and 40-h exposures, as well as 2 oxygenated-PAHs (benzofluorenone and fluorenone) suggesting temporal sensitivity over a single work day or week (p < 0.05, power =0.85). Additionally, the amount of PAH sequestered differed between worksites (p < 0.05, power = 0.99), suggesting spatial sensitivity using this novel application.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Hydrocarbon, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Personal care, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Currently there is a lack of inexpensive, easy-to-use technology to evaluate human exposure to environmental chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is the first study in which silicone wristbands were deployed alongside two traditional personal PAH exposure assessment methods: active air monitoring with samplers (i.e., polyurethane foam (PUF) and filter) housed in backpacks, and biological sampling with urine. We demonstrate that wristbands worn for 48 h in a non-occupational setting recover semivolatile PAHs, and we compare levels of PAHs in wristbands to PAHs in PUFs-filters and to hydroxy-PAH (OH-PAH) biomarkers in urine. We deployed all samplers simultaneously for 48 h on 22 pregnant women in an established urban birth cohort. Each woman provided one spot urine sample at the end of the 48-h period. Wristbands recovered PAHs with similar detection frequencies to PUFs-filters. Of the 62 PAHs tested for in the 22 wristbands, 51 PAHs were detected in at least one wristband. In this cohort of pregnant women, we found more significant correlations between OH-PAHs and PAHs in wristbands than between OH-PAHs and PAHs in PUFs-filters. Only two comparisons between PAHs in PUFs-filters and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs = 0.53 and p = 0.01; rs = 0.44 and p = 0.04), whereas six comparisons between PAHs in wristbands and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs = 0.44 to 0.76 and p = 0.04 to <0.0001). These results support the utility of wristbands as a biologically relevant exposure assessment tool which can be easily integrated into environmental health studies. Graphical abstract PAHs detected in samples collected from urban pregnant women.

Concepts: Childbirth, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Hydrocarbon, Aromatic hydrocarbon, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Superfund sites often consist of complex mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). It is widely recognized that PAHs pose risks to human and environmental health, but the risks posed by exposure to PAH mixtures are unclear. We constructed an environmentally relevant PAH mixture with the top 10 most prevalent PAHs (SM10) from a Superfund site derived from environmental passive sampling data. Using the zebrafish model, we measured body burden at 48 hours post fertilization (hpf) and evaluated the developmental and neurotoxicity of SM10 and the 10 individual constituents at 24 hours post fertilization (hpf) and 5 days post fertilization (dpf). Zebrafish embryos were exposed from 6 to 120 hpf to (1) the SM10 mixture, (2) a variety of individual PAHs: pyrene, fluoranthene, retene, benzo[a]anthracene, chrysene, naphthalene, acenaphthene, phenanthrene, fluorene, and 2-methylnaphthalene. We demonstrated that SM10 and only 3 of the individual PAHs were developmentally toxic. Subsequently, we constructed and exposed developing zebrafish to two sub-mixtures: SM3 (comprised of 3 of the developmentally toxicity PAHs) and SM7 (7 non-developmentally toxic PAHs). We found that the SM3 toxicity profile was similar to SM10, and SM7 unexpectedly elicited developmental toxicity unlike that seen with its individual components. The results demonstrated that the overall developmental toxicity in the mixtures could be explained using the general concentration addition model. To determine if exposures activated the AHR pathway, spatial expression of CYP1A was evaluated in the 10 individual PAHs and the 3 mixtures at 5 dpf. Results showed activation of AHR in the liver and vasculature for the mixtures and some individual PAHs. Embryos exposed to SM10 during development and raised in chemical-free water into adulthood exhibited decreased learning and responses to startle stimulus indicating that developmental SM10 exposures affect neurobehavior. Collectively, these results exemplify the utility of zebrafish to investigate the developmental and neurotoxicity of complex mixtures.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Toxicity, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene, Superfund


The principal aim of this study was to monitor the occurrence of some metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in fish and mussels from the Gulf of Naples. A comparison with previous researches of the same area was carried out, and the intakes of these compounds through the diet and their effect on the tolerable intake values (when available) were assessed. Cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb) were detected by flameless atomic absorption spectroscopy (Cd, Cr, and Pb); arsenic (As) and mercury (Hg) were detected by applying the hydride method. PAHs were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography. Widespread contamination was found. Among the metals, Hg showed the highest maximum levels of 284.94 ng/g wet weight (ww) in fish and 480.00 ng/g ww in mussels. Chrysene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, anthracene, and benzo[k]fluoranthene were the most common PAHs in fish, whereas benzo[a]anthracene, pyrene, phenanthrene, acenaphthylene, and acenaphthene were the most frequently occurring compounds in mussels. The concentrations of As, Cr, Hg, Pb, and PAHs in fish were found to decrease over a period of 30 years, whereas the Cd levels remained constant. The Hg, Pb, and PAH levels in mussels increased over the period 2010 to 2016. Finally, the average consumption of mussels led to the highest effect on the Tolerable Daily Intake of Hg, which was exceeded by 19%.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Analytical chemistry, Hydrocarbon, Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, Anthracene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widespread in the environment and can adversely affect human health. The aim of the present study is to describe the level of PAHs exposure in children living in Kraków, one of the most polluted cities in Poland, and to determine the relationship of urinary biomarkers with environmental PAHsexposure. Urinary monohydroxy metabolites (OH-PAHs) of 20 PAHs were assessed in 218 three-year old children, of which only 10 were present in nearly all the samples: monohydroxy metabolites of naphthalene, fluorene, phenantrene and pyrene. Of the metabolites analyzed, hydroxynaphthalenes were predominant and constituted almost 73% of total excreted OH-PAHs, while 1-OH-PYRene was the least abundant (2.3% of total OH-PAHs). All measured urinary OH-PAHs were statistically significantly correlated with each other (R = 0.165-0.880) but the highest correlation coefficients with other individual OH-PAHs and with total OH-PAHs were observed for 2-OH-FLUOR. Children exposed at home to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) had higher concentrations of fluorene and pyrene urinary metabolites compared to those without ETS exposure; and those exposed to gas-based appliances used for cooking or heating water had higher levels of fluorene and phenanthrene metabolites than children not exposed. The use of coal, wood or oil for heating was associated with elevated levels of 1-OH-PYRene. Urinary PAHs metabolites only modestly reflect high molecular weight carcinogenic PAHs exposures such as those monitored in air in the present study. None of the measured PAHs metabolites was correlated with airborne PM2.5and only two were slightly correlated with measured higher molecular mass airborne PAHs. The average concentrations of these specific metabolites in Polish children were much higher than observed in other pediatric populations living in developed countries. Our findings suggest that to capture various sources of PAHs, in addition to 1-OH-PYRene, biomonitoring of PAHs exposure should include 2-OH-NAP and 2-OH-FLUOR.

Concepts: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Benzene, Hydrocarbon, Aromaticity, Naphthalene, Phenanthrene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Pyrene