Nitrogen distribution in a tropical urbanized estuarine system in northeastern Brazil

  • Celimarcos Bezerra dos Santos
  • Maria Aparecida Macêdo Silva
  • Marcelo F. Landim de Souza
  • Daniela Mariano Lopes da SilvaEmail author


Nitrogen enters estuaries mostly through fluvial discharge and tide, although anthropogenic sources are known to influence the amount of this element in these aquatic ecosystems. Thus, the objective of this work was to verify which river (Cachoeira, Fundão, and/or Santana) exerts greater influence on the distribution of dissolved N forms (Dissolved Organic Nitrogen and Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen = NH3/NH4+, NO2, and NO3) along a tropical urbanized estuarine system in northeastern Brazil. The studies estuarine system lies with in urban municipality, and the upper portion of the Cachoeira river estuary receives the treated effluent from this municipality through a sewage treatment station and untreated effluents from nearby villages. The selected sampling stations were located near the outfall of the rivers in the estuaries to the treatment plant and the villages. Of all the nitrogen forms, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) prevailed in the estuarine system, followed by nitrate (NO3) as the main inorganic form. The highest concentrations were recorded in the fluvial portion and upper estuary of Cachoeira river in the dry season. Based on the N concentrations found in the estuarine system, Cachoeira river has the greatest anthropogenic influence due to the amount of untreated effluents from the villages and treated effluents from the sewage treatment plant (STP) in the upper portion of the estuary.


Nitrogen Domestic effluents Sewage treatment Tropical estuary 



We would like to thank the Research Support Foundation of the State of Bahia - FAPESB (PET 0025/2012) and the State University of Santa Cruz – UESC (0220.1100.1266) for funding this research and for awarding the scholarship BOL0322/2014, and the coordination of the PPGSAT for overseeing research. We also thank to Cipriana Leme for the English revision of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celimarcos Bezerra dos Santos
    • 1
  • Maria Aparecida Macêdo Silva
    • 2
  • Marcelo F. Landim de Souza
    • 2
  • Daniela Mariano Lopes da Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (UESC)IlhéusBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências Exatas e TecnológicasUniversidade Estadual de Santa CruzIlhéusBrazil

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