Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanologie

Mai 2018 - Paluselli et al.

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Distribution of phthalates in Marseille Bay (NW Mediterranean Sea)

Phthalic Acid Esters (PAEs) are a group of emerging organic contaminants that have become a serious issue because of their ubiquitous presence and hazardous impact on the marine environment worldwide. Seawater samples were collected monthly from December 2013 to November 2014 in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea (Marseille Bay). The samples were analyzed for dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as well as the molecular distribution of dissolved PAEs by using solid phase extraction followed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analyses. The results demonstrated the occurrence of six PAEs, including dimethyl phthalate (DMP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), with total concentrations ranging from 130 to 1330 ng L− 1 (av. 522 ng L− 1). In Marseille Bay, the highest concentrations were detected in the bottom water from June to November 2014 and in the whole water column during the winter mixing period. This result suggests that resuspension of PAE-rich sediment, in relation to the accumulation of plastic debris above the seabed, or the higher degradation rate in the upper layer of the water column, plays a significant role in the PAE dynamics in coastal water. DEHP was the most abundant PAE in all of the surface samples and the summer bottom samples, followed by DiBP and DnBP, which also represent the largest fractions in the other bottom samples.

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