Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the water column and sediment core of Deep Bay, South China

Yao Wen Qiu, Gan Zhang, Guo Qing Liu, Ling Li Guo, Xiangdong Li, Wing Hong Onyx Wai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


The levels of 15 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in seawater, suspended particulate matter (SPM), surface sediment and core sediment samples of Deep Bay, South China. The average concentrations Σ15PAHs were 69.4 ± 24.7 ng l-1in seawater, 429.1 ± 231.8 ng g-1in SPM, and 353.8 ± 128.1 ng g-1dry weight in surface sediment, respectively. Higher PAH concentrations were observed in SPM than in surface sediment. Temporal trend of PAH concentrations in core sediment generally increased from 1948 to 2004, with higher concentrations in top than in sub-surface, implying a stronger recent input of PAHs owing to the rapid economic development in Shenzhen. Compared with historical data, the PAH levels in surface sediment has increased, and this was further confirmed by the increasing trend of PAHs in the core sediment. Phenanthrene, fluoranthene and pyrene dominated in the PAH composition pattern profiles in the Bay. Compositional pattern analysis suggested that PAHs in the Deep Bay were derived from both pyrogenic and petrogenic sources, and diesel oil leakage, river runoff and air deposition may serve as important pathways for PAHs input to the Bay. Significant positive correlations between partition coefficient in surface sediment to that in water (KOC) of PAH and their octanol/water partition coefficients (KOW) were observed, suggesting that KOCof PAHs in sediment/water of Deep Bay may be predicted by the corresponding KOW.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2009


  • China, Deep Bay
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • sedimentary record
  • water column

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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