American Chemical Society
es6b05821_si_001.pdf (2.35 MB)

Accumulation of Perfluoroalkylated Substances in Oceanic Plankton

Download (2.35 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2017-02-14, 00:00 authored by Paulo Casal, Belén González-Gaya, Yifeng Zhang, Anthony J. F. Reardon, Jonathan W. Martin, Begoña Jiménez, Jordi Dachs
The bioaccumulation of perfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs) in plankton has previously been evaluated only in freshwater and regional seas, but not for the large oligotrophic global oceans. Plankton samples from the tropical and subtropical Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans were collected during the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation expedition, and analyzed for 14 ionizable PFASs, including perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and their respective linear and branched isomers. PFOA and PFOS concentrations in plankton ranged from 0.1 to 43 ng gdw–1 and from 0.5 to 6.7 ng gdw–1, respectively. The relative abundance of branched PFOA in the northern hemisphere was correlated with distance to North America, consistent with the historical production and coherent with previously reported patterns in seawater. The plankton samples showing the highest PFOS concentrations also presented the largest relative abundances of branched PFOS, suggesting a selective cycling/fractionation of branched PFOS in the surface ocean mediated by plankton. Bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for plankton were calculated for six PFASs, including short chain PFASs. PFASs Log BAFs (wet weight) ranged from 2.6 ± 0.8 for perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), to 4.4 ± 0.6 for perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA). The vertical transport of PFASs due to the settling of organic matter bound PFAS (biological pump) was estimated from an organic matter settling fluxes climatology and the PFAS concentrations in plankton. The global average sinking fluxes were 0.8 ± 1.3 ng m–2d–1 for PFOA, and 1.1 ± 2.1 ng m–2d–1 for PFOS. The residence times of PFAS in the surface ocean, assuming the biological pump as the unique sink, showed a wide range of variability, from few years to millennia, depending on the sampling site and individual compound. Further process-based studies are needed to constrain the oceanic sink of PFAS.