Bioaccumulation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons by Marine Organisms

  • J. P. Meador
  • J. E. Stein
  • W. L. Reichert
  • U. Varanasi
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 143)


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) appear in most urbanized coastal areas of the world, accumulating in sediments and biota that are unable to efficiently eliminate them. This review focuses specifically on the mechanisms of bioavailability, uptake, and elimination, which determine the extent of accumulation and retention of PAHs in invertebrates and fish in marine ecosystems. We review here the literature on the mechanisms and factors that control these processes which ultimately determine the concentration of PAHs in marine organisms. Understanding both the temporal and spatial characteristics of bioaccumulation of the environmentally important PAHs is crucial for determining the impact that this class of compounds may have on marine populations. To provide a complete assessment of these potential impacts, scientists require knowledge about the distribution of these compounds in different environmental matrices, their uptake and partitioning in different tissues, their rates of elimination, and their potential for persistence in certain species. The combined information on these mechanisms and the environmental factors that control accumulation will help scientists develop predictive models of contaminant accumulation both for acute events, such as oil spills, and for long-term, chronic exposure as is found in many urban areas in our coastal ecosystems.


Body Burden Mytilus Edulis Bioaccumulation Factor Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentration Crassostrea Virginica 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Meador
    • 1
  • J. E. Stein
    • 1
  • W. L. Reichert
    • 1
  • U. Varanasi
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Conservation Division, Northwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSeattleUSA

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