Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 30, pp 31142–31157 | Cite as

Organotin compounds in touristic marinas of the northern Adriatic Sea: occurrence, speciation and potential recycling at the sediment-water interface

  • Malgorzata M. Formalewicz
  • Federico Rampazzo
  • Seta Noventa
  • Claudia Gion
  • Elisa Petranich
  • Matteo Crosera
  • Stefano Covelli
  • Jadran Faganeli
  • Daniela BertoEmail author
Research Article


Butyltin compound (BTC) contamination was evaluated in two north Adriatic marinas, San Rocco (Italy) and Lucija (Slovenia). BTC sedimentary concentrations (121 ± 46 and 352 ± 30 ng Sn g−1 in San Rocco and Lucija, respectively) evidenced the past use of antifouling paints, confirmed by the reduced tributyltin content (~ 46%) with respect to the sum of BTC. Elemental and organic carbon isotopic (δ13C) analyses of bulk sediments and its lipid and humic substances were performed in order to evaluate their role in BTC partitioning and preservation. The δ13C of sedimentary bulk and refractory organic matter suggested that diagenetic processes could play a role in the preservation or release of pollutants. No contamination was found in water collected from the benthic chamber and thus, fluxes at the sediment-water interface were not assessed, except for MBT efflux at Lucija (28.9 ng Sn m−2 day−1). Nevertheless, BTC concentrations in porewaters (up to 75 ng Sn l−1) and rather low sediment-porewater partitioning coefficients (Kd) with respect to the data reported in the literature would suggest a potential risk of the reintroduction of BTC into the water column at both sites: at Lucija, sedimentary contamination is high despite the greater Log Kd, whilst at San Rocco, the low BTC concentration is associated with a reduced sediment affinity.


Tributyltin Organic matter Humic acids Isotopic signature Contamination Porewaters 



A special thanks to Karry Close for proofreading the manuscript. We are grateful to the management of the Portorož and Porto San Rocco marinas for their availability and hospitality.

Funding information

The research activity was partially supported by the University of Trieste (Finanziamento di Ateneo per progetti di ricerca scientifica - FRA 2014, ref. Stefano Covelli).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malgorzata M. Formalewicz
    • 1
  • Federico Rampazzo
    • 1
  • Seta Noventa
    • 1
  • Claudia Gion
    • 1
  • Elisa Petranich
    • 2
  • Matteo Crosera
    • 3
  • Stefano Covelli
    • 2
  • Jadran Faganeli
    • 4
  • Daniela Berto
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)ChioggiaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Matematica e GeoscienzeUniversità degli Studi di TriesteTriesteItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e FarmaceuticheUniversità degli Studi di TriesteTriesteItaly
  4. 4.Marine Biological StationNational Institute of BiologyPiranSlovenia

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