Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 1055–1070 | Cite as

Spatial distribution and temporal trends of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mytilus galloprovincialis from the Iberian Mediterranean coast

  • V. M. León
  • C. Martínez-Gómez
  • I. García
  • J. A. Campillo
  • J. Benedicto


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been determined in blue mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from several Iberian Mediterranean coastal areas through the implementation of a monitoring programme from Spain in the framework of the Mediterranean Pollution Programme (MED POL). The selected areas correspond to sites with differing degrees of exposure to the main pollution sources (hot spots, coastal and reference areas). The sampling campaigns were performed from 2004 to 2009, with samples being taken from May to June, the non-spawning period for mussels in this area. Thirteen PAHs were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with specific fluorescence detection. In general, total PAHs concentration was lower than 50 μg kg−1 d.w., except in areas close to the principal ports and cities (Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia and Algeciras) where it varies from 75 to 390 μg kg−1 d.w. Background concentrations have been proposed for PAHs in mussels (23.8 μg kg−1 d.w.) from Western Mediterranean area. Temporal trends were not statistically significant for PAHs concentrations from 2004 to 2009. Longer monitoring periods would be required to detect a continuous tendency, especially for PAHs because although the efficiency of combustion engines has reduced PAHs emissions, their increasing use could alter this potential reduction. The predominant PAHs were three and four ring congeners in all cases, with the predominance of phenanthrene in mussels sited far from the main PAHs sources. The phenanthrene/anthracene (lower than 10) and fluoranthene/pyrene (higher than 1) ratios indicate that PAHs detected in Spanish Mediterranean coastal mussels are mainly of pyrolytic origin.


Bioaccumulation Mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Distribution Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Temporal trend 



This study was carried out within the MEDPOLIEO Project supported by the Spanish Ministry of Environment and by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (Instituto Español de Oceanografía).


  1. Andral, B., Stanisiere, J. Y., Sauzade, D., Damier, E., Thebault, H., Galgani, F., et al. (2004). Monitoring chemical contamination levels in the Mediterranean based on the use of mussel caging. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 49, 704–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azdi, M., Moukrim, A., Burgeot, T., Budzinski, H., Chiffoleau, J. F., Kaaya, A., et al. (2006). Hydrocarbon pollution along Moroccan coasts and BPH activity in the mussel Perna perna. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, 26, 265–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumard, P., Budzinski, H., & Garrigues, P. H. (1998a). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments and mussels of the Western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Environmental Research, 47, 415–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumard, P., Budzinski, H., Michon, Q., Garrigues, P., Burgeot, T., & Bellocq, J. (1998b). Origin and bioavailability of PAHs in the Mediterranean Sea from mussel and sediment records. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 47, 77–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bihari, N., Fafandel, M., & Piskur, V. (2007). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and ecotoxicological characterization of seawater, sediment and mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis from the Gulf of Rijeka, the Adriatic Sea, Croatia. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 52, 379–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouzas, A., Aguado, D., Martí, N., Pastor, J. M., Herráez, R., Campins, P., et al. (2011). Alkylphenols and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Eastern Mediterranean Spanish coastal marine bivalves. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 176, 169–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Choi, H. G., Moon, H. B., Choi, M., Yu, J., & Kim, S. S. (2010). Mussel watch program for organic contaminants along the Korean coast, 2001–2007. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 169, 473–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cvrcková, O., & Ciganek, M. (2005). Photostability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs) in dichloromethante and isooctane solutions. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, 25, 141–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fernández, B., Albentosa, M., Viñas, L., Franco, A., González, J. J., & Campillo, J. A. (2010). Integrated assessment of water quality of the Costa da Morte (Galicia, NW Spain) by means of mussel chemical, biochemical and physiological parameters. Ecotoxicology, 19, 735–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Galgani, F., Martínez-Gómez, C., Giovanardi, F., Romanelli, G., Caixach, J., Cento, A., et al. (2010). Assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from the Western basin of the Mediterranean Sea. Environmental Monitoring Assessment, 172, 301–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Law, R., Hanke, G., Angelidis, M., Batty, J., Bignert, A., & Dachs, J. (2010). Marine Strategy Framework Directive—Task Group 8 Report Contaminants and pollution effects. EUR 24335 EN—Joint Research Centre Scientific and Technical Reports. Luxembourg: Office for official Publications of the European Communities, 2010. 161pp. Scientific and Technical Research series, doi: 10.2788/85887.
  12. Lima, I., Moreira, S. M., Rendón-von Osten, J., Soares, A. M. V. M., & Guillermino, L. (2007). Biochemical responses of the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis to petrochemical environmental contamination along the North-western coast of Portugal. Chemosphere, 66, 1230–1242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lipiatou, E., Tolosa, I., Simo, R., Bouloubassi, I., Dachs, J., Marti, S., et al. (1997). Mass budget and dynamics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean Sea. Deep Sea Research, 44, 881–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nesto, N., Romano, S., Moschino, V., Mauri, M., & Da Ros, L. (2007). Bioaccumulation and biomarker responses of trace metals and micro-organic pollutants in mussels and fish from the Lagoon of Venice, Italy. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55, 469–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. O’Connor, T. P., & Lauenstein, G. G. (2006). Trends in chemical concentrations in mussels and oysters along the US coast: update to 2003. Marine Environmental Research, 62, 261–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Perugini, M., Visciano, P., Giammarino, A., Manera, M., Di Nardo, W., & Amorena, M. (2007). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in marine organisms from the Adriatic Sea, Italy. Chemosphere, 66, 1904–1910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sicre, M. A., Marty, J. C., & Saliot, A. (1987). Aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in different sized aerosols over the Mediterranean Sea: occurrence and origin. Atmospheric Environment, 21, 2247–2259.Google Scholar
  18. Soclo, H. H., Garrigues, P., & Edwald, M. (2000). Origin of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coastal marine sediments: case studies in Cotonou (Benin) and Aquitaine (France) areas. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 40, 387–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Soler, M., Grimalt, J. O., & Albaigés, J. (1989). Vertical distribution of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in mussels from the Amposta offshore oil production platform (Western Mediterranean). Chemosphere, 18, 1809–1819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Soriano, J. A., Viñas, L., Franco, M. A., González, J. J., Ortiz, L., Bayona, J. M., et al. (2006). Spatial and temporal trends of petroleum hydrocarbons in wild mussels from the Galician coast (NW Spain) affected by the Prestige oil spill. The Science of the Total Environment, 370, 80–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Soriano, J. A., Viñas, L., Franco, M. A., González, J. J., Nguyen, M. H., Bayona, J. M., et al. (2007). Spatial and temporal trends of petroleum hydrocarbons in wild mussels from the Cantabrian coast (N Spain) after Prestige oil spill. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 9, 1018–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Valavanidis, A., Vlachogianni, T., Triantafillaki, S., Dassenakis, M., Androutsos, F., & Scoullos, M. (2008). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface seawater and in indigenous mussels (Mytilus galloprovinciallis) from coastal areas of the Saronikos Gulf (Greece). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 79, 733–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Viñas, L., Franco, A., & González, J. J. (2002). Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surficial sediments of the Vigo Estuary, Spain, central axis and adjacent shelf. Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, 22, 161–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Widdows, J., & Donkin, P. (1992). Mussels and environmental contaminants: bioaccumulation and physiological aspects. In E. Gosling (Ed.), The mussel Mytilus: ecology, physiology and culture (pp. 383–424). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  25. Wild, E., Dent, J., Thomas, G. O., & Jones, K. C. (2005). Real-time visualization and quantification of PAH photodegradation on and within plant leaves. Environmental Science and Technology, 2005(39), 268–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. M. León
    • 1
  • C. Martínez-Gómez
    • 1
  • I. García
    • 1
  • J. A. Campillo
    • 1
  • J. Benedicto
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Español de OceanografíaCentro Oceanográfico de MurciaMurciaSpain

Personalised recommendations