Elemental Composition of PM2.5 Aerosol in a Residential–Industrial Area of a Mediterranean Megacity

  • Abdallah A. ShaltoutEmail author
  • Johan Boman
  • Salwa K. Hassan
  • Asmaa M. Abozied
  • Emad A. Al-Ashkar
  • Omar H. Abd-Elkader
  • M. A. Yassin
  • J. H. Al-Tamimi


Very little is known about the elemental composition and possible sources of fine aerosol particles from Mediterranean megacities. Fine aerosol particles were collected at a residential-industrial area in Greater Cairo, Egypt, during the period from October 2010 to May 2011. The elemental compositions of the collected samples were quantified by using a homemade energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, whereas black carbon was quantified by a black smoke detector. Fifteen elements have been quantified. Of these constituents, Ca, C, Cl, S, and Fe had the highest concentrations: greater than 1 µg m−3. The overall mean mass concentration of the collected samples equals 70 µg m−3; this value exceeds the European Union annual Air Quality Standard levels. The individual elemental concentrations of the fine particles were found to be dominated by elements linked to mineral dust. Most of the monthly variations of elemental concentrations can be attributed to seasonal meteorological conditions. Other possible sources were vehicle-exhaust and industrial activities. The results pinpoint the problem of identifying different sources when one source, in this case, the nearby deserts, is dominant. The results from this study contribute to the growing knowledge of concentrations, composition, and possible sources of ambient fine particulate matter.



Abdallah A. Shaltout and Johan Boman received financial support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA, Award number: 1885/2014). Dr. O. H. Abd-Elkader extends his sincere appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for its funding of this research through the research Group projects no RGP- 306.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spectroscopy Department, Physics DivisionNational Research CentreCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Physics Department, Faculty of ScienceTaif UniversityTaifKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Air Pollution Research DepartmentNational Research CentreCairoEgypt
  5. 5.Physics & Astronomy Department, Science CollegeKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  6. 6.Physics Division, Electron Microscope & Thin Films DepartmentNational Research CentreGizaEgypt
  7. 7.Botany & Microbiology Department, Science CollegeKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  8. 8.Zoology Department, Science CollegeKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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