Preliminary studies about the role of physicochemical parameters on the organotin compound dynamic in a South American estuary (Bahía Blanca, Argentina)

  • Pamela Y. QuintasEmail author
  • Eleonora M. Fernández
  • Carla V. Spetter
  • Andrés H. Arias
  • Mariano Garrido
  • Jorge E. Marcovecchio


This work provides a preliminary study of the destination, mobility, and availability of tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT), and monobutyltin (MBT) in contaminated sediments and water column within Puerto Rosales Port, located in the middle zone of the Bahía Blanca Estuary (Argentina). Therefore, this study presents the first comprehensive results of the role of several physicochemical parameters (temperature, pH, Eh, salinity, turbidity, organic matter, chlorophyll, and macronutrients) in behavior of organotin compounds (OTCs) in a marine-coastal ecosystem. The samples were collected seasonally in May, August, and November during 2014. Levels of OTCs were determined in sediments and water column samples by means of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis. Degradation index analyses suggested not recent inputs of TBT at the area of study. However, results submitted a continuous input of TBT into the column water; further, its distribution and degradation pattern were shown to be influenced by salinity, turbidity, particulate organic matter, chlorophyll, and nitrates. These last two parameters, chlorophyll and nitrates, also were very important for sediment samples. Chlorophyll together with high temperatures recorded in the surface sediments triggers biodegradation process of TBT and DBT resulting in high MBT levels while nitrates seemed to promote debutylation process. Furthermore, pH appeared to influence drastically the adsorption/desorption activity of TBT and DBT in sediment. Finally, the Eh obtained suggested a degradation of TBT thanks to the presence of Fe (III) in this compartment. In addition, in fact, the results outlined a possible MBT additional input that contributes to the pollution observed in the study area.

Graphical abstract

Organotin compounds behavior according to several physicochemical parameters


Organotin compounds Chlorophyll Macronutrients Physicochemical parameters Rosales Port 



The authors would like to thank the IADO executive directors and Chemical Oceanography Area’s staff.

Funding information

This research was supported by a doctoral grant funded by the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET-Argentina) and was part of the PhD thesis of Pamela Y. Quintas and Eleonora M. Fernández. Funding was provided through research grants by CONICET (PIP D-738 2011), National Agency for Promotion of Science and Technology-ANPCyT (PICT 2015-0709, PICT 2012-2794), and National South University-UNS (PGI 24/Q086, PGI 24/ZQ12, PGI 24/ZQ15).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO)Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS)-CONICETBahía BlancaArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Química Analítica para Investigación y Desarrollo (QUIANID), Instituto Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Básicas (ICB), UNCUYO – CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de CuyoMendozaArgentina
  3. 3.Departamento de QuímicaUniversidad Nacional del Sur (UNS)Bahia BlancaArgentina
  4. 4.Instituto de Química del Sur (INQUISUR)Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS)-CONICETBahía BlancaArgentina

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