Investigation of the spatial distribution of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Eliza Cwalina, Kristoffer Skovlund Kilpinen, Ingvild Ryde, Nikoline Juul Nielsen, Sigurd Christiansen, Jan H. Christensen

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Abstract

Due to adverse effects of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) on human health, it is important to understand how airborne PAHs, are spatially distributed within urban areas. Moss has been shown to be a suitable material for biomonitoring of airborne PAH pollution. In this study, the moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus was sampled throughout Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. 53 Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus samples were extracted using a matrix solid-phase dispersive extraction method and analysed for 19 parent PAHs and six groups of alkylated PAHs using gas chromatography mass-spectrometry. All PAHs were quantified in at least one Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus sample, and the sum of the EPA 16 PAHs (ƩPAHEPA16) ranged from 0.90 to 344 µg kg−1 dry weight. Higher concentrations were found close to the harbour and the main roads. The spatial correlation was investigated for the ƩPAHEPA16, pyrene, fluoranthene, chrysene, benzo(e)pyrene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, C1-phenanthrenes/C1-anthracenes, and C2-phenanthrenes/C2-anthracenes using variograms. The effective range of the spatial correlation was between 500 to 700 m of all PAHs. The evaluation of diagnostic ratios of fluoranthene to pyrene, and benzo(a)anthracene to chrysene suggest that different pollution sources affect urban areas of different types. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time airborne PAH pollution patterns were mapped in an Arctic town, and the first time, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus was used for tracing PAH pollution sources. Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus is suitable for biomonitoring and mapping PAH pollution within urban areas since it is widespread, and suitable for mapping PAHs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research International
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Urban pollution
  • Pollution distribution
  • Spatial correlation
  • Bryophytes
  • Subarctic
  • Arctic
  • Moss
  • Diagnostic ratios

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