PAH and PCB body-burdens in epibenthic deep-sea invertebrates from the northern Gulf of Mexico


There is a paucity of information on the levels of PAHs and PCBs in the deep-sea (> 200 m). In this study, the body-burdens of 16 PAHs and 29 PCBs were measured in Actinaria (sea anemones), Holothuroidea (sea cucumber), Pennatulacea (sea pens), and Crinoidea (sea lilies) in the deep Gulf of Mexico. All epibenthic species were collected at depths of approximately 2000 m. The PAH and PCB congener profile displayed a similar pattern of bioaccumulation across all four taxa. The high molecular weight PAH, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, was the most abundant PAH in all organisms, ranging from 36 to 53 percent of sum total PAHs. PCBs 101 and 138 exhibited the highest levels at 20-25 percent of total congener concentrations in all taxa. The exposure to PAHs and PCBs is likely attributed to contaminated particulate organic matter that is consumed by the deposit and filter feeding epibenthic megafauna sampled in this study.

Marine Pollution Bulletin, 162: 111825