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In this study, the spatial bioaccumulation of parental and alkylated polycyclic aromatic compounds was examined in mussels collected from the narrowest section of Halifax Harbor. Mussels' health was also investigated using a cumulative biological effect representing the survival time of animals in air. Seventeen sites were sampled over two months and summed concentrations ranged from 75 to 971 ng/g (wet weight). A similar fingerprint was displayed for the abundant parental compounds and reflects a relatively uniform discharge of combustion sources. Variably weathered fossil fuels were detected in mussels. The sum of PAC (> 200 ng/g) and the concentration (> 100 ng/g) and proportion (> 50%) of alkylated derivatives distinguished more impacted mussel sites near a major sewage effluent from those less impacted. An aspect briefly followed in this study and lending support to additional contaminants contributing to effects was the correlation between water quality, that is, bacterial counts in water, and the bioaccumulation of PAC in mussels.
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Keywords: Alkylated; harbor; mussels; parental; sewage; weathering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ecosystem Research Division, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada 2: Département de Chimie, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Béthune, Cédex, France

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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