Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 18, pp 17321–17329 | Cite as

Phthalate esters distribution in coastal mariculture of Hong Kong, China

  • Zhang Cheng
  • Han-Han Li
  • Lin Yu
  • Zhan-Biao Yang
  • Xiao-Xun Xu
  • Hong-Sheng Wang
  • Ming-Hung Wong
Research Article


The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of mariculture on phthalate esters speciation and distribution in sediments and cultured fish in the Hong Kong regions and near mainland China. Concentrations of ∑phthalate esters in mariculture surface sediments (0 to 5 cm) ranged from 0.20 to 54.3 mg/kg dw (mean 10.3 mg/kg dw), with the highest recorded at M2 (20.4 mg/kg dw). Concentrations of phthalate esters were not significantly (p > 0.05) enriched in surface and sediment cores at mariculture sites relative to the reference sediments, 1 to 2 km away in areas without mariculture activities. Among different congeners, only butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) concentrations demonstrated a significant correlation (R2 = 0.40, p < 0.05) with TOC values of sediments. The median concentrations of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) in the sediments were 1.57 and 6.96 times higher than the environmental risk levels (ERL), which may pose environmental risks. Results of health risk assessments revealed that the cultured fish (snubnose pompano, orange-spotted grouper, and red snapper) were safe for consumption, in terms of phthalate esters. This is the first study to assess the differences of phthalate esters contamination between mariculture and natural coastal sediments.


Mariculture Sediment Cultured fish Phthalate esters Risk assessment 



The study received financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21507095), the Sichuan province project Education Fund (No. 16ZA0036), and the Sichuan Provincial Youth Science and Technology Fund (2017JQ0035).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1735_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EnvironmentSichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Consortium on Health, Environment, Education and Research (CHEER), and Department of Science and Environmental StudiesThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoChina
  3. 3.Department of Microbial and Biochemical Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical SciencesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory for Heavy Metal Pollution Control and Reutilization, School of Environment and EnergyPeking University Shenzhen Graduate SchoolShenzhenChina
  5. 5.School of EnvironmentJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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