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Aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments of Kaohsiung Harbour and adjacent coast, Taiwan

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Surficial sediment samples collected from Kaohsiung Harbour and its nearby coast were analyzed for aliphatic hydrocarbons and parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to our results, the average total concentrations of n-alkanes (n-C12 to C35) and aromatics (15 PAHs) were 4.33 µg g–1 dry weight (ranged 0.46–22.60) and 0.59 µg g–1 dry weight (ranged 0.09–1.75), respectively. The highest concentrations of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons were recorded in stations near the estuaries of Qianzhen River and Love River, respectively. Aliphatic hydrocarbons in the samples indicate that there has been significant non-petrogenic, possibly terrestrial, contribution in the sediment of the open coast of Kaohsiung Harbour and that there has been dominant contribution from petrogenic sources in the sediment of the inner harbour. PAHs, detected in the samples, however, indicated a higher pyrolytic contribution in open-coast samples and a higher petrogenic contribution in the inner harbour. Overall, sediment concentrations of total alkanes in this study were comparable to those found in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong and are higher than those found in Xiamen Harbour, China. Concentrations of total PAHs in inner Kaohsiung Harbour sediments were relatively lower than those found in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong and Xiamen Harbour, China, but comparable to those found in Hsin-ta Harbour, Taiwan and Incheon Harbour, Korea. In comparison with several effect-based sediment quality guidelines, most PAH concentrations found in samples taken from inner harbour stations exceeded the Threshold Effect Level of Florida indicating a slight possibility of adverse effects.

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