The accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and DDTs were investigated in gammarids captured at three sites along the middle River Po; the first was located upstream and the other two were at increasing distances downstream of the confluence of a polluted tributary, the River Lambro. Using a GC-MS technique, the levels of PCBs, PAHs and DDTs were determined separately in large and small gammarids as well as in the fine fraction of sediment samples collected along the sites of capture. Results confirm the River Lambro as a source of these chemicals to the River Po, and show that bioaccumulation differences exist between small and large individuals, the former being more contaminated particularly by PCBs and DDTs. This is likely the result of several interacting factors such as contaminant bioavailability, gammarid-size effects on kinetic parameters and feeding selectivity. The bioaccumulation patterns of PCBs and DDTs, and their higher biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAF), are consistent with chemical properties and suggest a dietary disequilibrium found only 10 km downstream from the tributary, and in smaller amphipods. Present results show that gammarids may represent an additional source of contaminants, particularly of chlorinated compounds, to the many organisms feeding on them, with a higher risk for those which prey selectively on smaller gammarids.
- Organism size
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal