Spatial Distribution and Temporal Trends of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Sediments from Lake Maryut, Alexandria, Egypt Conference Paper uri icon


  • Surface and core sediments from Lake Maryut, Egypt, one of the most polluted lakes in Egypt, were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. This investigation represents the first extensive study of the distribution and sources of PAHs in sediments from Lake Maryut. The total PAHs concentrations (sum of 39 PAH compounds) in surface sediments varied greatly depending on the sampling location and ranged from 106 to 57,800 ng/g dry weight with a mean concentration of 6,950 ng/g. The most polluted areas are distributed in areas which are mainly influenced by municipal sewage and industrial effluent discharges, suggesting a direct influence of these sources on the pollutant distribution patterns. PAH concentrations were one to two orders of magnitude higher in comparison with those reported for riverine/estuaries systems around the world. Molecular indices, such as pyrogenic index (PI), methylphenanthrenes to phenanthrene ratio, HMWPAH/LMWPAH, A-PAHs/P-PAHs, FL/FL+PY, BaP/BaP+C, IP/IP+BgP, and Per/(penta-aromatics) were calculated to evaluate different hydrocarbon origins and their relative importance. In general, sediments from the main basin and northwest basin of Lake Maryut showed the highest PAH concentrations with petrogenic signatures, indicating major sources of petrogenic PAHs in the city. On the other hand, lower levels of PAHs with a pyrogenic signature were widely recorded in areas that are distant from anthropogenic sources. At other locations, both petrogenic and pyrogenic inputs were significant. The concentrations of perylene relative to the penta-aromatic isomers are dominant especially in locations associated with terrestrial inputs and in the deepest core sediments, indicating diagenetic origin for the presence of perylene. Temporal trends of PAH concentrations in both cores sediments were influenced by input pathways and followed the economic development and the environmental policies of the Egyptian Government in the last 15 years. Finally, PAH levels in sediments were compared with Sediments Quality Guidelines (effects range median-effects range low) for evaluation probable toxic effects on organism. Results suggest an ecotoxicological risk for benthic organisms mainly in the main basin area, where high concentrations of PAHs were found in sediments influenced by anthropogenic activities. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Barakat, A. O., Mostafa, A., Wade, T. L., Sweet, S. T., & El Sayed, N. B.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Barakat, Assem Omar||Mostafa, Alaa||Wade, Terry L||Sweet, Stephen T||El Sayed, Nadia B

publication date

  • June 2011