Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil of the Canadian river floodplain in Oklahoma. Academic Article uri icon


  • The accumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in soil, plants, and water may impart negative effects on ecosystem and human health. We quantified the concentration and distribution of 41 PAH (n = 32), organic C, total N, and S (n = 140) and investigated PAH sources using a chronosequence of floodplain soils under a natural vegetation succession. Soil samples were collected between 0- and 260-cm depth in bare land (the control), wetland, forest, and grassland areas near a closed municipal landfill and an active asphalt plant (the contaminant sources) in the north bank of the Canadian River near Norman, OK. Principal component, cluster, and correlation analyses were used to investigate the spatial distribution of PAH, in combination with diagnostic ratios to distinguish pyrogenic vs. petrogenic PAH suites. Total PAH concentration (SigmaPAH) had a mean of 1300 ng g(-1), minimum of 16 ng g(-1), and maximum of 12,000 ng g(-1). At 0- to 20-cm depth, SigmaPAH was 3500 +/- 1600 ng g(-1) (mean +/- 1 SE) near the contaminant sources. The most common compounds were nonalkylated, high molecular weight PAH of pyrogenic origin, i.e., fluoranthene (17%), pyrene (14%), phenanthrene (9%), benzo(b)fluoranthene (7%), chrysene (6%), and benzo(a)anthracene (5%). SigmaPAH in the control (130 +/- 23 ng g(-1)) was comparable to reported concentrations for the rural Great Plains. Perylene had a unique distribution pattern suggesting biological inputs. The main PAH contamination mechanisms were likely atmospheric deposition due to asphalt production at the 0- to 20-cm depth and past landfill operations at deeper depths.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

author list (cited authors)

  • Sartori, F., Wade, T. L., Sericano, J. L., Mohanty, B. P., & Smith, K. A.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Sartori, Fabio||Wade, Terry L||Sericano, Jose L||Mohanty, Binayak P||Smith, Kevin A

publication date

  • March 2010