Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Christchurch environment
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been determined in the Christchurch environment in the following sample types: city and suburban atmospheric particulate matter; mud in the Avon and Heathcote Rivers and their estuary; an estuarine bivalve, Chione stutchburyi, the common cockle; automobile exhaust particulates and domestic soot. More than forty PAH of four or more rings present in these samples have been identified using gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The use of [PAH]/[Pb] ratios as sensitive and discriminating source indicators for airborne PAH is demonstrated and the results strongly suggest that the domestic fire is the predominant contributor to the overall atmospheric PAR pollution in Christchurch in winter. Comparison of PAR gas chromatographic profiles and the use of parent compound distributions indicate that the major proportion of the PAR in the mud of the rivers and estuary also originates from this source. Promising preliminary studies were made on the use of ultraviolet spectroscopy as a rapid quantitative method for total PAR determination, and as a qualitative method for identifying PAR mixtures from different sources.