Unexpected occurrence of volatile dimethylsiloxanes in antarctic soils, vegetation, phytoplankton, and krill

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Volatile methyl siloxanes (VMS) are high-production synthetic compounds, ubiquitously found in the environment of source regions. Here, we show for the first time the occurrence of VMS in soils, vegetation, phytoplankton, and krill samples from the Antarctic Peninsula region, which questions previous claims that these compounds are "flyers" and do not significantly reach remote ecosystems. Cyclic VMS are the predominant compounds, with concentrations ranging from the limits of detection to 110 ng/g in soils. Concentrations of cyclic VMS in phytoplankton are negatively correlated with sea surface salinity, indicating a source from ice and snow melting and consistent with snow depositional inputs. After the summer snow melting, VMS accumulate in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic biota. Therefore, once introduced into the marine environment, VMS are eventually trapped by the biological pump and, thus, behave as "single hoppers". Conversely, VMS in soils and vegetation behave as "multiple hoppers" due to their high volatility ​
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