Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 157, Issue 1–4, pp 363–373 | Cite as

Mercury speciation in the Persian Gulf sediments

  • Homira AgahEmail author
  • Marc Elskens
  • S. Mohammad Reza Fatemi
  • Fereidoon Owfi
  • Willy Baeyens
  • Martine Leermakers


The concentrations of total mercury (Hg) and methyl mercury (MMHg) were determined in 78 marine sediments in the Iranian coastal waters of the Persian Gulf along nine transects perpendicular to the coastline. Total Hg ranged from 10 to 56 ng g − 1d.w. and MMHg from 0.1 to 0.4 ng g − 1 d.w. The fraction of methyl mercury accounted from 0.3% to 1.1% of the total mercury amount. The organic carbon (OC) content ranged from 0.4% to 1.8%. The present study indicates that the levels of Hg in the sediments of the Iranian coast of the Persian Gulf were all in the concentration range of unpolluted areas regarding Hg (<100 ng g − 1). The concentrations of total Hg, methyl mercury and organic carbon were generally higher in the deeper stations. Total Hg and MMHg were significantly correlated, but no significant correlations could be found between the Hg and OC levels.


Total mercury Methyl mercury Organic carbon Sediment The Persian Gulf Headspace GC-AFS Cold vapor AAS 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Homira Agah
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marc Elskens
    • 1
  • S. Mohammad Reza Fatemi
    • 2
  • Fereidoon Owfi
    • 3
  • Willy Baeyens
    • 1
  • Martine Leermakers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry (ANCH)Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Marine Biology and Science and Research UnitIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Marine Ecology DepartmentIranian Fishery Research Organization (IFRO)TehranIran

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