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Antarctic Research Features

7 April 2017:

1Mario Zucchelli Station Terra Nova Bay AntarcticaA recent study has reported the first detection of Fragrance Materials (FM) in the Antarctic environment. The measurements were made of FM concentrations in the surface seawater of Terra Nova Bay in the Ross Sea. The discovery was made as part of a wider program of measurements of Personal Care Products (PCPs), pollutants whose distribution in the Antarctic is still largely unknown. While some of the FMs were identified in the treated discharges from the Italian research station Mario Zucchelli, the total concentration of FMs were found to vary during the seasonal melting of the sea ice.

The authors suggest that variability in emissions and distribution as well as atmospheric transport processes may play a role in the variations of FM concentration. They point to the need for future studies to investigate the environmental fate of the substances and transport processes to ensure protection of the fragile Antarctic marine ecosystem. Studying how next-generation contaminants will affect Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems was identified as high priority during the SCAR Horizon Scan.

Marco Vecchiato, Elena Gregoris, Elena Barbaro, Carlo Barbante, Rossano Piazza, Andrea Gambaro, “Fragrances in the seawater of Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica”, Science of the Total Environment, 593-594, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.197

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