Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 33–42 | Cite as

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in urban soils representing different land use categories in Shanghai

  • Jing Liang
  • Guangjun Ma
  • Hailan FangEmail author
  • Ling Chen
  • Peter Christie
Original Article


An extensive soil survey was carried out in Shanghai to investigate the spatial distribution and possible sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in urban soils. Soil samples were collected from highways, iron-smelting plants, steel-smelting plants, shipbuilding yards, coking plants, power plants, chemical plants, urban parks, university campuses and residential areas and were analyzed for 16 PAHs by gas chromatography with mass detection. High PAH concentrations were found in all locations investigated, with mean values of soil total PAH concentrations in the range 3,279–38,868 μg/kg DM, and the PAH concentrations were significantly influenced by soil organic matter content. Soil PAH profiles in all districts were dominated by PAHs with 4–6 rings. Principal components analysis and diagnostic ratios of PAHs indicate that they were mainly derived from coal combustion and petroleum but in soils from highways the PAHs were derived largely from vehicle exhaust emissions. The high concentrations of PAHs found indicate that many urban soils in Shanghai represent a potential hazard to public health.


PAHs Urban districts Soil organic matter Diagnostic ratio Pollution sources Principal components analysis 



We thank the special program of Greening Administration Bureau (Project ZXD50205), and Soil Remediation Appropriation Fund (2008-006) of Shanghai Construction and Communications Commission for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Liang
    • 1
  • Guangjun Ma
    • 2
  • Hailan Fang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ling Chen
    • 3
  • Peter Christie
    • 4
  1. 1.Shanghai Institute of Landscape GardeningShanghaiChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and Environment SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource ReuseTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Agri-Environment BranchAgri-Food and Biosciences InstituteBelfastUK

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