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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2006 Jan;63(1):52-60. Epub 2005 Oct 5.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons fluxes during the past 50 years observed in dated sediment cores from Andean mountain lakes in central south Chile.

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Aquatic Systems Research Unit, EULA-Chile Environmental Sciences Center, University of ConcepciĆ³n, P.O. Box 160-C, ConcepciĆ³n, Chile.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous in the environment; they are of concern due to their toxic properties. Anthropogenic activities could contribute in a significant way to the total burden of PAHs in remote mountain areas. In this work, we document the analysis of PAHs deposition through sedimentary records obtained in three remote Andean lakes located in south central Chile. Sediment cores were taken in one of the deepest sections of each lake, ranging from 45 to 135 m depth. Sediments were carefully extruded in 1-cm layers for PAHs and dating analysis (210Pb and 137Cs). Sixteen Environmental Protection Agency prioritary PAHs were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Dating of sediments was possible for only two lakes (Laja and Galletue). The superficial composition of PAHs in each lake is rather similar with a characteristic dominance of perylene; levels ranged 355 to 3050 ng g(-1) d.w. Depositional fluxes averaged 118 microg m2 year(-1) in Laja Lake in contrast to that in Galletue Lake, where average fluxes reach 434 microg m2 year(-1). Dating back to 50 years, PAH profiles did not experience drastic changes despite the rapid development of industrialization over the past 30 years in the surrounding region, indicating that levels and composition remains fairly similar to those of the present. Finally, determined fluxes were in the lower range of depositional fluxes calculated for lakes located in the industrialized northern hemisphere.

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