Temporal and spatial distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Danube River in Hungary

Ruqayah Ali Grmasha, Csilla Stenger-Kovács, Osamah J. Al-sareji, Raed A. Al-Juboori, Mónika Meiczinger, Manolia Andredaki, Ibijoke A. Idowu, Hasan Sh Majdi, Khalid Hashim*, Nadhir Al-Ansari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The Danube is a significant transboundary river on a global scale, with several tributaries. The effluents from industrial operations and wastewater treatment plants have an impact on the river's aquatic ecosystem. These discharges provide a significant threat to aquatic life by deteriorating the quality of water and sediment. Hence, a total of 16 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) compounds were analyzed at six locations along the river, covering a period of 12 months. The objective was to explore the temporal and spatial fluctuations of these chemicals in both water and sediment. The study revealed a significant fluctuation in the concentration of PAHs in water throughout the year, with levels ranging from 224.8 ng/L during the summer to 365.8 ng/L during the winter. Similarly, the concentration of PAHs in sediment samples varied from 316.7 ng/g in dry weight during the summer to 422.9 ng/g in dry weight during the winter. According to the Europe Drinking Water Directive, the levels of PAHs exceeded the permitted limit of 100 ng/L, resulting in a 124.8% rise in summer and a 265.8% increase in winter. The results suggest that the potential human-caused sources of PAHs were mostly derived from pyrolytic and pyrogenic processes, with pyrogenic sources being more dominant. Assessment of sediment quality standards (SQGs) showed that the levels of PAHs in sediments were below the Effect Range Low (ERL), except for acenaphthylene (Acy) and fluorene (Fl) concentrations. This suggests that there could be occasional biological consequences. The cumulative Individual Lifetime Cancer Risk (ILCR) exceeds 1/104 for both adults and children in all sites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8318
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Danube River
  • Diagnostic ratios
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Risk assessment
  • Sediment
  • Water


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