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Influence of UV-B radiation and temperature on photodegradation of PAHs : preliminary results.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date11/2006
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish


The joint impact of UV-B radiation and temperature on photodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) sorbed to an organic solvent was assessed in this study. This approach was experimentally performed in a laboratory investigation by means of comparison of two different environments: Atlantic (Lancaster, UK) and Mediterranean (Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain) climatic conditions. The concentration of 10 PAHs contained in a tetradecane solution was compared under two different temperatures (10 and 20°C) and UV-B doses (6.5 and 22.5 kJ m−2 day−1). No photodegradation was observed for the heaviest hydrocarbons (benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(a)pyrene, dibenzo(g,h,i)perylene and coronene). In general terms, the half-life of PAHs was highly dependent on their molecular weight. Significant faster photodegradation rates were detected specially for light PAHs. It indicates that a synergistic effect occurred when both temperature and UV-B dose increased. This synergism might have a great implication on the long-range transport of environmental organic pollutants taking into account that low-latitude areas are the hottest and most irradiated of the planet.