Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 9065–9078 | Cite as

Oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mussels: analytical method development and occurrence in the Belgian coastal zone

  • Bavo De WitteEmail author
  • Christophe Walgraeve
  • Kristof Demeestere
  • Herman Van Langenhove
Research Article


An analytical method was developed for the trace quantification of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (oxyPAHs) in mussels. Compounds included were naphthalene-1-ol, 9H-fluoren-9-one, anthracene-9,10-dione, 7H-benz[de]anthracene-7-one, naphtacene-5,12-dione, and benzo[a]anthracene-7,12-dione. Pyrene-1-carboxaldehyde was applied as an internal standard. Sample extraction by pressurized liquid extraction was followed by cleanup on silica, separation by high performance liquid chromatography, and quantitative measurement by mass spectrometry with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The method was validated by the analysis of spiked mussel samples, resulting in trueness values of 90–124% and measurement uncertainties of 6–49%, except for naphthalene-1-ol. Quantification limits varied from 0.25 ng·g−1 to 10.7 ng·g−1. The developed analytical oxyPAH method was applied on mussel samples from groynes and quaysides along the Belgian coastline and oxyPAH data were compared to PAH concentration data. The sum of 14 US EPA priority PAHs reached maxima at the eastern side of the Belgian coastal zone, with on average 202 ng·g−1 wet weight for quayside Zeebrugge and 38.4 ng·g−1 wet weight for groyne Knokke mussels. Anthracene-9,10-dione concentrations reached maxima of 19.1 ng·g−1 wet weight at the most industrialized quayside of Zeebrugge. For other oxyPAHs, no clear relationship could be made with direct PAH emissions. Concentrations of anthracene-9,10-dione and 9H-fluoren-9-one were found to exceed corresponding parent PAH concentrations.


Oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons oxyPAHs Mussels Pollution Marine environment 



We want to thank the laboratory technicians of the ILVO chromatography lab for technical support and the Flanders Marine Institute for editorial help at Fig. S1.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the Flemish department of mobility and public works through the project “bagger.”

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4259_MOESM1_ESM.docx (283 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 283 kb)


  1. Abdel-Shafy HI, Mansour MSM (2016) A review on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: source, environmental impact, effect on human health and remediation. Egypt J Pet 25:107–123. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anon (2007) Commission regulation (EC) No 1376/2007 of 23 November 2007 amending Annex I to regulation (EC) No 304/2003 of the European Parliamene and of the Council concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals. Off J Eur Union L 307, 24.11.2007:14–17Google Scholar
  3. Anon (2008a) Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). Off J Eur Communities L 164, 25.06.2008:19–40Google Scholar
  4. Anon (2008b) Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on the environmental quality standards in the field of water policy, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directives 82/176/EEC, 83/513/EEC, 84/156/EEC, 84/491/EEC, 86/280/EEC and amending Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. Off J Eur Communities L 348, 24.12.2008:84–97Google Scholar
  5. Anon (2010) Commission decision 2010/477/EU of 1 september 2010 on criteria on methodological standards on good environmental status of marine waters. Off J Eur Communities L:232, 02.09.2010, 14–224Google Scholar
  6. Anon (2011) Commision regulation (EC) No 835/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 19 August 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foodstuffs. Off J Eur Communities L 215, 20.08.11:4–8Google Scholar
  7. Anon. (2016a) Annual report 2016, Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeehaven, 24 (in Dutch)Google Scholar
  8. Anon. (2016b) Annual report 2016, Port of Antwerp, 44Google Scholar
  9. Anon (2017) Annual report 2017. Oostende, Haven, p 43 (in Dutch)Google Scholar
  10. Ballesta PP, Grandesso E, Kowalewski K (2014) European interlaboratory comparison exercise for the analysis of PAHs on PM10 quartz filters. J Geophys Res-Atmos 119(6):3486–3499. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bandowe BAM, Bigalke M, Boamah L, Nyarko E, Saalia FK, Wilcke W (2014) Polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs and oxygenated PAHs) and trace metals in fish species from Ghana (West Africa): bioaccumulation and health risk assessment. Environ Int 65:135–146. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beach DG, Quilliam MA, Hellou J (2009) Analysis of pyrene metabolites in marine snails by liquid chromatography using fluorescence and mass spectrometry detection. J Chromatogr B 877:2142–2152. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Beekman E (2011) The impact of climate change on the harmful effects of chemicals in the aquatic environment: consequences of temperature rise and cyanobacteria. Dissertation, Ghent University. (in Dutch)Google Scholar
  14. Bester K, Theobald N (2000) Results of non target screening of lipophilic organic pollutants in the German bight V: xanthen-9-one. Water Res 34(8):2277–2282. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brack W, Altenburger R, Küstner E, Meissner B, Wenzel KD, Schüürmann G (2003) Identification of toxic products of anthracene photomodification in simulated sunlight. Environ Toxicol Chem 22(10):2228–2237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dasgupta S, Cao A, Mauer B, Yan B, Uno S, McElroy A (2014) Genotoxicity of oxy-PAHs to Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryos assessed using the comet assay. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21:13867–13876. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Witte B, Devriese L, Bekaert K, Hoffman S, Vandermeersch G, Cooreman K, Robbens J (2014) Quality assessment of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis): comparison between commercial and wild types. Mar Pollut Bull 85(1):146–155. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Donata L (2010) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) factsheet, 3rd Edition. JRC 60146, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, 25Google Scholar
  19. Fetweiss M, Houziaux JS, Du Four I, Van Lancker V, Baeteman C, Mathys M, Van den Eynde D, Francken F, Wartel S (2009) Long-term influence of maritime access works on the distribution of cohesive sediments: analysis of historica land recent data from the Belgian nearshore area (southern North Sea). Geo-Mar Lett 29:321–330. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hansch C, Leo A, Hoekman D (1995) Exploring QSAR – hydrophobic, electronic and steric constants. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, p 557 ISBN 0-8412-2993-7Google Scholar
  21. Hellou J, Beach DG, Erskine S, Marklevitz SA, Saunders L (2010) Balanced fates of pyrene and 1-hydroxypyrene in snails, Ilyanassa obsoleta, and spiked sediments. Polycycl Aromat Compd 30:75–90. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kawano M, Uno S, Koyama J, Kokushi E, McElroy A (2016) Effects of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on the early life stages of Japanese medaka. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:27670–27677. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Layshock JA, Wilson G, Anderson KA (2010) Ketone and quinone-substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mussel tissue, sediment, urban dust, and diesel particulate matrices. Environ Toxicol Chem 29(11):2450–2460. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu Y, Sklorz M, Schnelle-Kreis J, Orasche J, Ferge T, Kettrup A, Zimmermann R (2006) Oxidant denuder sampling for analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their oxygenated derivates in ambient aerosol: evaluation of sampling artefact. Chemosphere 62:1889–1898. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lu GN, Tao XQ, Dang Z, Yi XY, Yang C (2008) Estimation of n-octanol/water partition coefficients of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by quantum chemical descriptors. Cent Eur J Chem 6(2):310–318. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lundstedt S, White PA, Lemieux CL, Lynes KD, Lambert IB, Öberg L, Haglund P, Tysklind M (2007) Sources, fate and toxic hazards of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at PAH contaminates sites. Ambio 36(6):475–485.[475:SFATHO]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
  27. Mallakin A, McConkey BJ, Miao G, McKibben B, Snieckus V, Dixon DG, Greenberg BM (1999) Impacts of structural photomodification on the toxicity of environmental contaminants: anthracene photooxidation products. Ecotox Environ Safe 43:204–212. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McConkey BJ, Duxbury CL, Dixon G, Greenberg BM (1997) Toxicity of a PAH photooxidation product to the bacteria Photobacterium phosporeum and the duckweed Lemna gibba: effects of phenanthrene and its primary photoproduct, phenanthrenequinone. Environ Toxicol Chem 16(5):892–899. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McKinney RA, Pruel RJ, Burgess RM (1999) Ratio of the concentration of anthraquinone to anthracene in coastal marine sediments. Chemosphere 38:2415–2430. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. OSPAR (2010a) OSPAR coordinated environmental monitoring programme (CEMP). OSPAR commission, London, Agreement 2010–1Google Scholar
  31. OSPAR (2010b) Quality status report 2010. OSPAR Commission, London, p 176Google Scholar
  32. OSPAR (2013) JAMP guidelines for monitoring of contaminants in seawater. OSPAR Commission, London, p 19Google Scholar
  33. OSPAR (2017) OSPAR assessments, intermediate assessment 2017, OSPAR commission, London,
  34. Özhan G, Topuz S, Alpertunga B (2003) A simple method for the determination of carbaryl and 1-naphthol in fruit huices by high-performance liquid chromatograpy-diode-array detection. J Food Prot 66(8):1510–1513. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sarkar A, Bhagat J, Sarker MS, Gaitonde DCS, Sarker S (2017) Evaluation of the impact of bioaccumulation of PAH from the marine environment on DNA integrity and oxidative stress in marine rock oyster (Saccostrea cucullata) along the Arabian sea coast. Ecotoxicology 26:1105–1116. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sklorz M, Briede JJ, Schnelle-Kreis J, Liu Y, Cyrys J, De Kok TM, Zimmermann R (2007a) Concentration of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and oxygen free radical formation from urban particulate matter. J Toxicol Env Heal A 70:1866–1869. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sklorz M, Schnelle-Kreis J, Liu YB, Orasche J, Zimmermann R (2007b) Daytime resolved analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in urban aerosol samples – impact of sources and meteorological conditions. Chemosphere 67:934–943. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smedes F (1999) Determination of total lipid using non-chlorinated solvents. Analyst 124:1711–1718. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Thomas KV, Balaam J, Barnard N, Dyer R, Jones C, Lavender J, McHugh M (2002) Characterisation of potentially genotoxic compounds in sediments collected from United Kingdom estuaries. Chemosphere 49:247–258. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tomruk A, Guvan KC (2008) Biotransformation of 1-methylnaphtalene and anthracene in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819). Fresenius Environ Bull 17:256–259Google Scholar
  41. Walgraeve C, Demeestere K, Dewulf J, Zimmerman R, Van Langenhove H (2010) Oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in atmospheric particulate matter: molecular characterization and occurrence. Atmos Environ 44(15):1831–1846. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Webster L, Russel M, Walsham P, Phillips LA, Hussy I, Packer G, Dalgarno EJ, Moffat CF (2011) An assessment of persistent organic pollutants in Scottish coastal and offshore marine environments. J Environ Monit 13:1288–1307. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Xie F, Koziar SA, Lampi MA, Dixon G, Norwood WP, Borgmann U, Huang XD, Greenberg BM (2006) Assessment of the toxicity of mixtures of copper, 9,10-phenanthrenequinone, and phenanthrene to Daphnia magna: evidence for a reactive oxygen mechanism. Environ Toxicol Chem 25(2):613–622. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yu H (2002) Environmental carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: photochemistry and phototoxicity. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev 20(2):149–183. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries ResearchAnimal Sciences Unit—Aquatic Environment and QualityOstendBelgium
  2. 2.Research Group EnVOC, Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations