Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have carcinogenic and mutagenic properties and their main origin in the environment is the burning of fossil fuels and organic material and they are considered high priority Persistent Organic Compounds (POPs). In the present study (March and August 2018) the concentrations of the 16 priority PAHs were analyzed in sediments and organisms (fish and oysters) in the estuarine-lagoon system Tuxpan-Tampamachoco, Veracruz; Mexico.
The analysis of these compounds was carried out by means of gas chromatography-FID and mass spectrometry. In March (dry season) the average concentration of PAHs in sediments was 0.86 ± 0.39 μg/g and in August (rainy season) it was 1.14 ± 0.45 μg/g. During both collections, chrysene presented the highest total concentrations and a domain of the compounds with 4 benzene rings was observed, therefore, pyrolytic sources of contribution predominated. The highest concentrations of PAHs occurred in 2 stations located in the Tuxpan riverbed and both exceeded the threshold concentration to cause adverse effects to the benthic community.
The analysis of PAHs in organism tissues was carried out in 4 species of fish and one mollusk. In march, the species with the highest concentration was Bagre marinus with 88.87 μg/g and in august it corresponded to the Caranx hippos species with 26.82 μg/g and the compound determined with the highest presence was benzo(b)fluoranthene.
Finally, the tendency of accumulation of PAHs in the evaluated matrices was: fish> sediments> mollusks.