Distribution and characteristics of PAHs in sediments from the Mediterranean coastal environment of Egypt

Assem O Barakat, Alaa Mostafa, Terry L Wade, Stephen T Sweet, Nadia B El Sayed
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2011, 62 (9): 1969-78
To assess the contamination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Mediterranean coastal environment of Egypt, 26 sediment samples from the coastline, harbours, estuaries and coastal lakes were collected and analyzed. The sediment PAH concentrations of thirty-nine 2-6 ring PAHs ranged from 13.5 to 22,600 ng/g. PAH profiles varied according to the nature of the site and its proximity to sources. Industrialized and urbanized region showed high level of PAHs contamination. In general, the contamination levels of PAHs were similar to those observed in contaminated and slightly contaminated sediments of the Mediterranean Sea. Molecular indices based on ratios of selected PAH concentrations were used to differentiate PAHs from pyrogenic and petrogenic and mixed origins. Good correlations were observed between the petrogenic index, MP/P, A-PAHs/P-PAHs and HMW/LMW. Finally, PAH levels in sediments were compared with Sediments Quality Guidelines (ERM-ERL) for evaluation of probable toxic effects on organism.

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