Sedimentary organic biomarkers suggest detrimental effects of PAHs on estuarine microbial biomass during the 20th century in San Francisco Bay, CA, USA

Chemosphere
By: , and 

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Abstract

Hydrocarbon contaminants are ubiquitous in urban aquatic ecosystems, and the ability of some microbial strains to degrade certain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is well established. However, detrimental effects of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination on nondegrader microbial populations and photosynthetic organisms have not often been considered. In the current study, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) biomarkers in the sediment record were used to assess historical impacts of petroleum contamination on microbial and/or algal biomass in South San Francisco Bay, CA, USA. Profiles of saturated, branched, and monounsaturated fatty acids had similar concentrations and patterns downcore. Total PAHs in a sediment core were on average greater than 20× higher above ∼200 cm than below, which corresponds roughly to the year 1900. Isomer ratios were consistent with a predominant petroleum combustion source for PAHs. Several individual PAHs exceeded sediment quality screening values. Negative correlations between petroleum contaminants and microbial and algal biomarkers – along with high trans/cis ratios of unsaturated FA, and principle component analysis of the PAH and fatty acid records – suggest a negative impacts of petroleum contamination, appearing early in the 20th century, on microbial and/or algal ecology at the site.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sedimentary organic biomarkers suggest detrimental effects of PAHs on estuarine microbial biomass during the 20th century in San Francisco Bay, CA, USA
Series title Chemosphere
DOI 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.08.053
Volume 119
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Oregon Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Chemosphere
First page 961
Last page 970
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Francisco Bay