Geochemical Speciation, Ecological Risk and Assessment of Main Sources of Potentially Toxic Elements (PTEs) in Stream Sediments from Nile River in Egypt

Ambrosino, Maurizio
El-Saadani, Zozo
Khatita, Atef Abu
Mingqi, Wang
Cicchella, Domenico
Studying and understanding the complexity and interactions of different factors influencing stream sediment quality is necessary for the development of successful water quality management strategies. This study aims to evaluate the level of contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) (As, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) of the stream sediments of the Nile River. During the spring of 2019, river sediments were sampled at 23 sites along the Nile River. For each sample, one aliquot was digested in aqua regia and analyzed by ICP-MS for pseudo-total concentration, while for another aliquot, sequential extraction procedures were applied to determine chemical speciation. Compositional data analysis (CoDa) and k-means were applied to recognize the contribution of natural and anthropogenic sources, while pollution indices (EF, RAC) and sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) were applied to assess the ecological risk to biotic species. The results reveal that elements such as Cr, Mn, V and Fe, found in high concentrations in almost all samples (Cr up to 739 mg/kg, Mn up to 1942 mg/kg, V up to 507 mg/kg, Fe up to 98,519 mg/kg), have a natural origin, while the concentrations of Cu (up to 69 mg/kg), Ni (up to 88 mg/kg), Co (up to 42 mg/kg) and As (up to 9.8 mg/kg) are linked to both natural and anthropogenic processes. Sequential extraction shows that Mn, Co, Ni and, in some sites, Cu and Zn, are the most bioavailable elements. These elements present a high risk of toxicity, while the remaining elements imply a low-to-moderate risk ​
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