Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in topsoil: emergent trends in environmental assessment
  • Article Type: Research Article
  • Eurasian Journal of Biosciences, 2020 - Volume 14 Issue 1, pp. 1427-1436
  • Published Online: 29 Jun 2020
  • Open Access Full Text (PDF)


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are extremely teratogenic, carcinogens and significant environmental pollutants. The conc. of 16 priority PHAs in soils from the urbanized/ industrialized outskirts in the vicinity of Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company were analyzed along with their associations with soil properties, its sources and spatial distribution. The selected soil properties include total organic carbon (% TOC), soil pH and cation exchange capacity. The pH of the soil samples varies from 7.0 to 8.2 with an average of 7.7. The total organic matter ranged from 0.2% to 3.6% with an average of 0.8 %. The CEC ranged from 14.46 to 42.9 cmol [Na+]/ Kg with an average of 28.5 cmol (Na+]/ Kg. PAHs were analyzed by using High Performance Liquid Chromatography having fluorescence detector. Only 11 PAH compounds were detected in almost all samples; anthracene, naphthalene, acenaphthene, anthracene, pyrene, fluorine, benzo[a] and benzo[b] fluoranthene, benzo[k] fluoranthene, benzo[a] perylene, dibenzo [g.h.i] pyrene and dibenzo[a, h] anthracene from the screened EPA 16 priority PAHs. Total PAHs concentration ranged from 32.7 to 573.5 μg /kg with an average of 219.9 μg/kg. Half of the sampling sites in the study area would be considered as uncontaminated with PAHs (<200 µg/kg) while the rest of sampling sites would be considered as weakly polluted (200-600 µg/kg). Factor analysis of PAHs identifies four major potential sources impact the study area; oil refinery emissions, Al-Hussein power plant, anthropogenic sources; industrial boilers; recycling mills, steel smelters and small size workshops and traffic emissions. The PAHs concentrations/ levels were used as the input data for a point-based contouring map, for studying the distribution of PAHs in the study area soil. The geochemical maps which generated provided a confirmation of the results in sources identified by factor analysis for PAHs analyzed.


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