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Polychlorinated Naphthalene Congener Profiles in Common Vegetation on the Tibetan Plateau as Biomonitors of Their Sources and Transportation

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journal contribution
posted on 28.01.2020 by Rong Jin, Jianjie Fu, Minghui Zheng, Lili Yang, Ahsan Habib, Cui Li, Guorui Liu
Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) are globally transported, carcinogenic, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that were recently added to the Stockholm Convention with 184 parties. The Tibetan Plateau plays an important role in the global transportation and distribution of POPs. Knowledge of PCN sources and transportation on the Tibetan Plateau is important for their control globally. In this study, we quantified the congener-specific concentrations of PCNs in lichen, moss, soil, and air samples collected on the Tibetan plateau and found that common lichens were effective biomonitors for predicting atmospheric PCNs in this area. The physiochemical properties of the PCNs, the temperatures, and the lichen lipid contents were identified as important factors influencing PCN partitioning between lichens and air. Lichen–air partitioning equations were established and used to predict PCN concentrations in air in Southeast Tibet. The lichens could be used as PCN biomonitors to clarify their spatial variations, sources, and transportation in the southeast of the plateau. PCN concentrations in lichens increased with altitude, suggesting that high-mountain cold-trapping influenced the PCN transportation behavior. Principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis showed that the major source of PCNs in this region was long-range atmospheric transportation via the Indian monsoon in summer and wind from Southwest Asia in winter. This study provides a novel method using PCN congener profiles as fingerprints and statistical models for studying the geochemical effects of conditions in high-mountain regions on the contamination behaviors of 75 congeners of the notorious PCNs.

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