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Chemosphere. 2002 Dec;49(10):1239-46.

Behavior of PAHs during cold storage of historically contaminated soil samples.

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Department of Environmental Biotechnology, Institute for Agrobiotechnology, Konrad Lorenz Strasse 20, 3430 Tulln, Austria.


The stability of historically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated soils during cold storage was investigated. Samples from two former manufactured gas plants exhibited quantitative recoveries of PAHs over the whole period of sample holding at 4 degrees C in the dark (8-10 months), whereas significant losses of PAHs were observed for soils received from a former railroad sleeper preservation plant with low molecular weight compounds being notably more affected compared to heavier PAHs. Already after 2 weeks of holding time, 3-ring PAHs in one of theses samples were down to 29-73% of the initial concentration and significant losses were observed for up to 5-ring compounds. Dissipation of PAHs was found to be predominantly due to aerobic microbial metabolism since sodium azide poisoned samples showed quantitative recoveries for all PAHs over the entire storage time of 3 months. A similar stabilizing effect was observed for freezing at -20 degrees C as means of preservation. Except for acenaphthene, no significant loss for any of the PAHs was observed over 6 weeks of holding time. Eventually, selected chemical, physical, and biological parameters of two soils were investigated and identified as potential indicators for the stability of PAH-contaminated soil samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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