Skip to main content

PAH Baselines for Amazonic Surficial Sediments: A Case of Study in Guajará Bay and Guamá River (Northern Brazil)


The 16 priority PAH were determined in sediment samples from the insular zone of Guajará Bay and Guamá River (Southern Amazon River mouth). Low hydrocarbon levels were observed and naphthalene was the most representative PAH. The low molecular weight PAH represented 51% of the total PAH. Statistical analysis showed that the sampling sites are not significantly different. Source analysis by PAH ratios and principal component analysis revealed that PAH are primary from a few rate of fossil fuel combustion, mainly related to the local small community activity. All samples presented no biological stress or damage potencial according to the sediment quality guidelines. This study discuss baselines for PAH in surface sediments from Amazonic aquatic systems based on source determination by PAH ratios and principal component analysis, sediment quality guidelines and through comparison with previous studies data.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Ananias DS, Souza EB, Souza PFS, Souza AML, Vitorino MI, Teixeira GM, Ferreira DBS (2010) Climatology of the vertical structure of the atmosphere in November to Belém-PA. Rev Bras Meteorol 25(2):218–226. (in Portuguese)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Assunção MA, Frena M, Santos APS, Madureira LAS (2017) Aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface sediments collected from mangroves with different levels of urbanization in southern Brazil. Mar Pollut Bull 119:439–445.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Bay SM, Ritter KJ, Vidal-Dorsch DE, Field LJ (2012) Comparison of national and regional sediment quality guidelines for classifying sediment toxicity in California. Integr Environ Assess Manag 8(4):597–609.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Galuszka A (2007) A review of geochemical background concepts and an example using data from Poland. Environ Geol 52(5):861–870.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Galuszka A, Migaszewski ZM (2011) Geochemical background: an environmental perspective. Mineralogia 42(1):7–17.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Harris KA, Yunker MB, Dangerfield N, Ross PS (2011) Sediment-associated aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in coastal British Columbia, Canada: concentrations, composition, and associated risks to protected sea otters. Environ Pollut 159(10):2665–2674.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Larsen RK, Baker JE (2003) Source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the urban atmosphere: a comparison of three methods. Environ Sci Technol 37(9):1873–1881.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Lima EAR (2009) Sources and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments and in sedimentary records of the Amazon Coastal Zone: regions of Belém and Barcarena (PA) and Santana (AP). Doctoral thesis, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (in Portuguese)

  9. Macdonald RW, Barrie LA, Bidleman TF, Diamond ML, Gregor DJ, Semkin RG, Strachan WMJ, Li YF, Wania F, Alaee M, Alexeeva LB, Backus SM, Bailey R, Bewers JM, Gobeil C, Halsall CJ, Harner T, Hoff JT, Jantunen LMM, Lockhart WL, Mackay D, Muir DCG, Pudykiewicz J, Reimer KJ, Smith JN, Stern GA, Schroeder WH, Wagemann R, Yunker MB (2000) Contaminants in the Canadian arctic: 5 year of progress in understanding sources, occurrence and pathways. Sci Total Environ 254(2–3):93–234.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Matos FO, Pinheiro LPS, Morales GP, Vasconcelos RC, Moura QL (2011) Influence of the tide on the dissolution of pollutants generated in the solid waste deposit of the metropolitan region of Belém-PA. Encicl Biosf 7(13):1166–1176 (in Portuguese)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Medeiros PM, Bícego MC (2004) Investigation of natural and anthropogenic hydrocarbon inputs in sediments using geochemical markers: Santos, SP-Brazil. Mar Pollut Bull 49(9–10):761–769.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Montuori P, Aurino S, Garzonio F, Sarnacchiaro P, Nardone A, Triassi M (2016) Distribution, sources and ecological risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and sediments from Tiber River and estuary, Italy. Sci Total Environ 566–567:1254–1267.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Mostert MMR, Ayoko GA, Kokot S (2010) Application of chemometrics to analysis of soil pollutants. Trends Anal Chem 29(5):430–445.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Nascimento RA, Almeida M, Escobar NCF, Ferreira SLC, Mortatti J, Queiroz AFS (2017) Sources and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and organic matter in surface sediments of an estuary under petroleum activity influence, Todos os Santos Bay, Brazil. Mar Pollut Bull 119(2):223–230.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Neves PA, Ferreira PAL, Bicego MC, Figueira RCL (2013) Radioanalytical assessment of sedimentation rates in Guajará Bay (Amazon Estuary, N Brazil): a study with unsupported 210Pb and 137Cs modeling. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 8(10):1–11.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Qian X, Liang B, Fu W, Liu X, Cui B (2016) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface sediments from the intertidal zone of Bohai Bay, Northeast China: spatial distribution, composition, sources and ecological risk assessment. Mar Pollut Bull 112(1–2):349–358.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Santos CC, Soares LS, Corrêa JAM (2016) Occurrence and sources of priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment samples along the Aurá River (Northern Brazil). Geochim Bras 30(1):26–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Simcik MF, Eisenreich SJ, Golden KA, Liu S-P, Lipiatou E, Swackhamer DL, Long DT (1999) Atmospheric loading of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to Lake Michigan as recorded in the sediments. Sci Total Environ 30(10):3039–3046.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Sodré SSV, Rodrigues CCS, Damasceno FC, Corrêa JAM, Cavalcante RM (2017) Preliminary assessment of Miramar Petrochemical Harbor as PAH source to Guajará bay (Belém-PA-Brazil) surface sediments. REM Int Eng J 70(4):415–420.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Tobiszewski M, Namieśnik J (2012) PAH diagnostic ratios for the identification of pollution emission sources. Environ Pollut 162:110–119.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Wilcke W, Amelung W, Martius C, Garcia MVB, Zech WJ (1999) Biological sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Amazonian rain forest. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 163:27–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Yunker MB, Macdonald RW, Vingarzan R, Mitchell RH, Goyette D, Sylvestre S (2002) PAHs in the Fraser River basin: a critical appraisal of PAH ratios as indicators of PAH source and composition. Org Geochem 33(4):489–515.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Laboratory of Organic Pollutants Compounds Analysis from Federal University of Sergipe.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Camila Carneiro dos Santos Rodrigues.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodrigues, C.C.S., Santos, E., Ramos, B.S. et al. PAH Baselines for Amazonic Surficial Sediments: A Case of Study in Guajará Bay and Guamá River (Northern Brazil). Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 100, 786–791 (2018).

Download citation


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Baselines
  • Sediment
  • Amazonic aquatic systems