Modelling the fate of micropollutants in the marine environment using passive sampling

Michiel Claessens, Frederik De Laender, Els Monteyne, Patrick Roose, Colin R. Janssen

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Polydimethylsiloxane sheets were used to determine freely dissolved concentrations (C<inf>diss</inf>) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Belgian coastal zone. Equilibrium models were used to predict the whole water concentrations (C<inf>ww</inf>) of these compounds as well as their concentrations in sediment, suspended particulate matter (SPM) and biota. In general, contaminant concentrations were predicted well for whole water and biota. C<inf>ww</inf> was increasingly underpredicted as K<inf>oc</inf> increased, possibly because of the presence of black carbon. Concentrations in biota were overestimated by the equilibrium approach when logK<inf>ow</inf> exceeded 6.5, suggesting an increasing role of transformation processes. Concentrations of PAHs and PCBs in sediment and SPM were consistently underpredicted although a good correlation between measured and predicted values was observed. This was potentially due to the use of experimental K<inf>oc</inf> values which have been found to underestimate partitioning of hydrophobic substances to sediment in field studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015


  • Environmental fate
  • Equilibrium modelling
  • Marine environment
  • Passive sampling


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