Source identification and sedimentary record of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Lake Bled (NW Slovenia) using stable carbon isotopes

Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Feb 5;47(3):1280-6. doi: 10.1021/es303832v. Epub 2013 Jan 11.


A combination of molecular and stable isotope analyses was used to trace and identify the sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in sediments of Lake Bled (NW Slovenia). Sediment samples were taken from two locations with contrasting depositional regimes: Zaka Bay, with permanently oxic bottom and station D, where anoxic conditions prevail throughout the year. The concentrations of PAH in surface sediments at the two locations were comparable and higher than in previous studies, reaching 4230 and 4380 ng g(-1), respectively. It was found that retene (Re) and perylene (Per) are both mainly of natural origin in Zaka Bay while, at station D, the value of δ(13)C determined at a depth of 12-14 cm in the 1950s indicated that Re was of pyrolytic origin. The distribution of δ(13)C values of other individual PAH showed that PAH input to lake sediments was of pyrolytic origin, likely dominated by coal and later in 1950s also by wood burning. PAH from vehicular emissions could also contribute to the overall isotope signatures at the depth of 12-14 cm at station D and Zaka Bay corresponding to the period 1953-1961.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / analysis
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Geography
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Isotope Labeling*
  • Lakes / chemistry*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Slovenia


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Carbon