Coastal salt-marsh vegetations are directly exposed to accidental marine pollution by oil spill, as it was the case in winter of the year 2000 following Erika tanker oil spill in France. As petroleum is incorporated in sediment, it tends to coat aerial parts of plants. Among fuel hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the most toxic compounds known in marine organisms. Although their low water solubility, they can be taken up and bioaccumulated by plants. This work was conducted to determine whether PAHs, like naphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene and benzo(a)pyrene, present in artificially fuel contaminated soils are transferred or not to aerial part of the coastal and edible plant, Salicornia fragilis. Sediments were mixed up with N°6. heavy fuel oil. Young plants of Salicornia were sampled in spring at the “Aber du Conquet” (Finistère, France), and cultured artificially in three different mixture conditions of oil and sediment: 0.2%, 2% or 20%. Two durations of culture were tested: one or five weeks. At the end of the culture, shoot are then cut off and PAHs concentrations were determinate by (GC-MS). Results showed that whatever the time of exposure and the concentrations of fuel oil in soil, significant PAHs concentrations were measured in Salicornia tissues. Phenanthrene and pyrene are the most abundant compounds. The particular morphology of Salicornia plants and the absence of PAHs in control also suggest that root uptake was the main pathway for accumulation of PAHs in this halophytic plant. By this capacity to uptake PAHs from fuel oil contaminated soil, Salicornia fragilis appears as a potential bioindicator of marine pollution by petroleum and may have a role in remediating contaminated soil.

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