, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1734–1742 | Cite as

Abundance, composition and vertical distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments of the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay of Hong Kong

  • Zhenye Zhao
  • Yi-Xuan Zhuang
  • Ji-Dong Gu


The distribution and changes of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contamination in mangrove sediments of Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site of Hong Kong SAR were investigated. Surface sediments (10 cm) collected from four sampling sites (SZ, SP, MF and M) exhibited significant spatial variations in concentrations of total PAH (with ΣPAHs ranging from 161.7 to 383.7 ng g−1 dry wt), as well as the composition of 16 US EPA priority PAH compounds. The highest PAHs concentrations were found in the mangrove sediments. Moreover, a sediment core was extracted from mangrove area is used to reconstruct the high-resolution depositional record of PAHs by 210Pb isotope analysis, showing the amounts of PAHs remained relatively constant for the past 41 years. Urbanization of Shenzhen Economic Zone, the rapid increase in vehicle numbers and energy consumption in the last two decades contributed to the PAHs detected in sediments. The source-diagnostic ratios indicated that pyrogenic input are important throughout the record and the surface sediments, and suggest that diesel fuel combustion, and hence traffic of heavier vehicles, is the most probable cause of PAHs.


PAHs Sediment Mangrove Sediment core Deposition profile 210Pb dating 



The research results presented here were supported by “Shenzhen Double Hundred Project” (Z-YZ) and Environmental Toxicology Education Fund of the laboratory (J-DG). The author would like to thank Jessie Lai and other members contributing to the work related to Mai Po Ecological Monitoring 2001–2008 and the field working group of AFCD at Mai Po for logistic support on sampling transport and assistance. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not reflect the view of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Coastal and Atmospheric ResearchPKU-HKUST Shenzhen-Hong Kong InstitutionShenzhenChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology and Toxicology, School of Biological SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  3. 3.The Swire Institute of Marine ScienceThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARPeople’s Republic of China

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