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Plant Leave as an Indicator for Pollution by Hydrocarbons and Heavy Metals in Al-Zubair City, Southern Iraq
Econ. Environ. Geol. 2023 Feb;56(1):75-85
Published online February 28, 2023;
Copyright © 2023 The Korean Society of Economic and Environmental Geology.

Sajjad W. Jaafar1,*, Sattar J.Al.Khafaji2

1Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Basrah ,Basrah, Iraq
2Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Basrah ,Basrah, Iraq
Received January 11, 2023; Revised February 15, 2023; Accepted February 15, 2023.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The potential sources and spatial distribution of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in the leaf plants of Al-Zubair city. A total of 14 samples of conocarpus lancifolius plant leaf were collected and analyzed for their heavy metals and PAHs content using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and a 7890 Agilent capillary gas chromatograph (GC) respectively. Bioaccumulation factor calculation revealed the highest pollution of heavy metals , due to the activity of a petrochemical in the area. The diagnostic ratio of Ant/(Phe+Ant), BaA/BaA+Chr), In/(In+BghiP), Flu/Pyr, FlA/FlA+Pyr), ΣLMW/ΣHMW are commonly used for determining the origin and source of PAHs in various environmental media. The diagnostic ratio indicated the anthropogenic origin. PAHs with five-to-six membered rings were dominant in the plant leaf, which likely results from anthropogenic activities. The leaves of C. lancifolius have a preponderance of high molecular weight PAHs compared to low molecular weight PAHs, indicating a combustion origin (car exhaust, petroleum emissions, and fossil fuel). C. lancifolius leaves are a reliable indication of atmospheric PAHs absorption. The background level of heavy metals in the city (or the near environment) is in the order of Fe > Cu > Ni > Cr. On the other hand, the bioaccumulation in plant leaves showed greater tendencies as follows: Co>Cd>Zn=As>Cu>Mn>Ni>Pb>Cr>Fe. Cobalt showed high bioaccumulation, indicating strong uptake of Co by plant leaves. These findings point to human activity and car emissions as the primary sources of roadside vegetation pollution in Al-Zubair city.
Keywords : Al-Zubair , PAHs, Conocarpus lancifolius, pollution, Bioaccumulation factor


February 2023, 56 (1)