Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined by gas chromatography in indigenous oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from three rivers in the southern Chesapeake Bay. Accumulation and depuration rates of PAHs in oysters were measured in situ by relocation experiments between industrially impacted and nomimpacted sites. Elizabeth River oysters at Norfolk, Virginia, contained the highest PAH tissue burdens among oysters from the rivers sampled; the sum of six PAHs identified was 3 9 ppm dry weight. PAH levels in James River oysters ranged from 0 to 2 3 ppm at Wreck Shoals near Newport News, Virginia No PAHs were detected in oysters from the Piankatank River In accumulation experiments, PAH levels increased from 0 to as much as 11 7 ppm dry weight within 3 d of exposure in the Elizabeth River, they then stabilized Depuration or transformation of PAHs in Elizabeth River oysters to undetectable levels occurred within 4 d of relocation to the Ware River Differences in oyster PAH levels generally corresponded with the degree of industrial and urban development and shipping traffic in the habitats.
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