Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Karisa Pierce


environmental monitoring, chemometrics


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) constitute a diverse class of highly toxic, ubiquitous environmental pollutants, and are thus of high interest in environmental monitoring and regulation. In this study, biliary samples of English soles Parophrys vetulus and smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu from Seattle waterways, and chum salmon Onchorynchus keta from the north Pacific Ocean were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD) to gauge PAH exposure. Samples were profiled in three broad molecular weight categories, to capture naphthalene-like (NAPH), phenanthrene-like (PHEN), and benzo[a]pyrene-like (BAP) metabolites. While quantification was not achieved for the chum salmon, the semi-quantitative measurements of biliary PAH metabolites in English soles and smallmouth bass revealed differences in exposure between the two species. The fish also exhibited generally lower levels of BAP than NAPH and PHEN. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the bile data was able to capture differences in chromatogram profiles between all three species for each PAH metabolite group. Finally, the PAH metabolite concentrations of the smallmouth bass were modeled and predicted using partial least-squares (PLS) regression models applied to their HPLC-FLD chromatogram data. The leave-one-out cross validation models were able to make fairly accurate predictions of BAP (R2 = 0.9483) and PHEN (R2 = 0.9394) concentrations but performed slightly worse with the NAPH data (R2 = 0.8944). These results indicate the potential for automated chemometric screening of bile data to determine PAH contamination in fish.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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