Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 1, pp 441–455 | Cite as

Assessment of priority phenolic compounds in sediments from an extremely polluted coastal wetland (Lake Maryut, Egypt)

  • Mohammed A. Khairy


Although high concentrations of trace organic pollutants were recorded along the Egyptian Mediterranean Coast and its corresponding coastal wetlands, no published data are available for the levels of phenolic compounds. Thus, this work aimed to investigate the levels of phenolic compounds in sediments of a heavily polluted coastal wetland (Lake Maryut, Egypt). For that purpose, a method was optimized for the extraction and detection of chlorophenols, methylphenols, and nitrophenols in sediments using GC-MS. Sediments were extracted with 0.1 M NaOH/methanol by sonication. Cleanup of sediment extracts using liquid–liquid extraction and SPE was found important to remove most of the interfering co-extracts. The proposed analytical methodology was validated by analysis of matrix spikes. Detection limits were 0.063–0.694 μg/kg dw for sediments. Good recoveries (70–110%) and precision values (RSD < 20%) were obtained from the fortification experiments at the parts per billion level in sediments. The method was applied to investigate the level of contamination with phenols in 19 sediment samples from Lake Maryut. Results revealed that higher concentrations were observed in the main basin (MB) of Lake Maryut affected by the discharge of effluents from a primary wastewater treatment plant, direct discharge of industrial effluents, domestic wastes, and agricultural effluents from Qalaa Drain (QD). Chlorophenols (CPs) were the major group detected in the lake sediments followed by methylphenols (MPs) and nitrophenols (NPs). CPs were dominated by 2-, 4-, and 3-chlorophenols. Concentrations of CPs were higher at the north and northwestern parts of the MB indicating the influence of industrial effluents discharged into the lake. On the other hand, higher concentrations of NPs were observed at the south and southwestern parts of the MB, which is subjected to the discharge of agricultural and domestic effluents via QD. Results of the risk assessment revealed that phenol, cresols, 2,4-dinitrophenol, 4-NP, 2-CP, 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol and 2,4-dimethylphenol are contaminants of concern and that adverse ecological effects could possibly occur to benthic species from the exposure to these pollutants in Lake Maryut and thus phenols should be included in monitoring and pollution prevention programs in the Egyptian aquatic environment affected by anthropogenic activities.


Phenols SPE GC-MS Lake Maryut Anthropogenic activities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt

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