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Using Two Species From Common Aquatic Plants as Bio-indicators of Pollution With Hydrocarbons Compounds in Al-Kahlaa River -Missan Province/ Iraq  

Salih Hassan Jazza1 , Hamid.T. Al-Saad2 , Abdul-Hussain.Y. Al-Adhub3
1 Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Missan, Missan, Iraq
2 Department of Marine Environmental Chemistry, Marine Science Center, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq
3 Department of Biology, College of science, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2016, Vol. 6, No. 3   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2016.06.0003
Received: 20 Dec., 2015    Accepted: 19 Feb., 2016    Published: 19 Feb., 2016
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Jazza S.H., Al-Saad H.T., and Al-Adhub A.Y., 2016, Using Two Species From Common Aquatic Plants as Bio-indicators of Pollution With Hydrocarbons Compounds in Al-Kahlaa River -Missan Province/ Iraq, International Journal of Marine Science, 6(3): 1-4 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2016.06.0003)


Two species from common aquatic plants (Ceratophyllum demersum and Paspalum pespaioides) were used as bio-indicators of pollution with hydrocarbons compounds at Al-Kahlaa River in Missan province .Plant samples were collected during the period from October 2012 to November 2013. Concentrations of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPHs) in C. demersum ranged between 5 µg/g dry weight during winter and 58.97 µg/g dry weight during summer, whereas in P. pespaioides ranged between 3.18 µg/g dry weight during winter and 43.44 µg/g dry weight during summer. Also results of this study revealed a seasonal and spatial variations in concentrations of TPHs in both plants, the highest concentrations were recorded during summer whereas the lowest during winter. Results of statistical analysis revealed that there is no significant spatial variation whereas there is a significant seasonal variation in C. demersum. While results in P. pespaioides revealed that there was a significant spatial variation, whereas there is a significant seasonal variation. These plants are capable of accumulating TPHs and can be used as bio-indicators for monitoring pollution by this type of pollutants in aquatic environment.

Aquatic plants; Total hydrocarbons pollution; Al-Kahlaa River


Hydrocarbons compounds accumulated in the plants cells suppressed their photosynthesis by reducing the primary photochemical yield, electron transport capacity, the activity of release oxygen center and photosystem II. Meanwhile respiration of plants enhanced, compelling the increase of energy expenditures (Aksmann and Tukaj, 2008). Oil also could block the absorption of CO2 and nutrients, leading to decrease chlorophyll a and reduce of primary productivity. Oil would destroy the cell structure and membrane system of plants and disturb the operation of anti-oxidation defense system, stop the synthesis of nucleic acid and protein, even inducethe cell abnormality and gene mutation (Bopp and Lettieri, 2007). Researches showed that oil would damage DNA structure or cause the DNA adduct formation of plant cells, prevent the replication of DNA, thus cells could not divide, leading to the augmentof cell size (Singh and Gaur, 1990). In addition to that petroleum hydrocarbons may affect the lipid structures within plant and other cells if they are not metabolized quickly (CCME, 2000). Gallegos et al. (2000) found that oil components can enter into the seed and disturb metabolic reactions or even kill the embryo and a reduction of biomass for plant species. Inhibition of plant growth can be caused by toxic effects of petroleum hydrocarbons. Small molecules of hydrocarbons can enter and pass cell membranes, leading to reduced membrane integrity or even to the death of the cell (Merkl, 2004). In this study we used two species from common aquatic plants as bio-indicators of pollution with hydrocarbons compounds and provided information on temporal and spatial variations of TPHs of these plants in the study area.
1 Materials and Methods
Plant samples were collected from Al-Kahlaa River during the period from October 2012 to November 2013. The samples were rinsed thoroughly with distilled water in the lab then were cut to small parts, dried, grounded and sieved using a 63μm metal sieve then placed in clean glass vial to become ready for analysis. The procedure of Grimalt and Oliver (1993) was used for the extraction of hydrocarbon compounds from plants samples. Spectrofluorometer was used to determine total petroleum hydrocarbons in plant samples. Simple thermometer with range from 0 to 100 °C graduated at 0.2 °C used to measure air and water temperature.
Classification of plant species (Al-Saadi and Al-Mayah, 1983)
Class: Angiospermae                                      Class: Angiospermae
Order: Ranales                                                 Order: Poales
Family :Ceratophyllaceae                               Family: Graminceae
Sp: Ceratophyllum demersum                       Sp: Paspalum pespaioides
2 Results and Discussion
Concentrations of TPHs µg/g d.w in C. demersum ranged from 5 to 11.92, from 6.02 to 12.106, from 19.73 to 58.97 and from 13.74 to 31.34 during winter, spring, summer and autumn respectively (Table 1), whereas in P. pespaioides ranged from 3.18 to 8.46, from 5.18 to 19.73, from 16.26 to 43.44 and from 14.09 to 46.03 during winter, spring, summer and autumn respectively (Table 2). The highest level of TPHs in aquatic plants was recorded during summer, while the lowest level was during winter in all stations. From these results, it can be observed that there is a difference in the concentrations of TPHs in different species of aquatic plants, these variations may be due to the different abilities of plants to accumulate or eliminate certain pollutants to the environment and the accumulation processes of pollutants may depend on some physical and chemical properties like pH, temperature, concentration of nutrients, salinity and dissolved oxygen (Thomas et al., 1984; Al-Saad, 1994), this perhaps explain the rather high concentration in some plants than others. Also a seasonal variation was noticed in the concentrations of TPHs in C. demersum and P. pespaioides, therefore the high concentrations in the two plants were recorded during summer followed by autumn and this may be attributed to the growth of plants during these seasons (Table 3). A positive significant correlation has been noticed (r= 0.764 and r= 0.717 at P< 0.01, Table 4) in C. demersum and (r= 0.673 and r= 0.650 at P< 0.01, Table 5) in P. paspaloides between TPHs and temperature (water and air, respectively), the same conclusions reached by Al-Saad (1994), Talal (2008), Al-Khatib (2008) and Abed Ali (2013) when working on some aquatic plants in Hor Al-Hammar, Hor Al-Howaiza and Euphrates river. In addition to that non-significant spatial variations in C. demersum species were observed, but there are a significant spatial variation especially between the results of P. pespaioides in treatment unit and reference stations in Table 5, the highest levels were recorded in treatment unit station while the lowest in reference station these differences in concentrations of TPHs in P. paspaloides may be due to the input of oil from vehicle maintenance (motor mechanic) as well as sewage discharge which reach to Al-Kahlaa River across treatment unit (Jazza, 2009). The decrease of their levels in control station is due to that it is located farther from the eminent anthropogenic pollution and also dilution factor since it lies on the end of Tigris River before entering Amara city about 25km.



Table 1 Concentrations of TPHs (µg/g d.w) in C. demersum from different sampling stations



Table Concentrations of TPHs (µg/g d.w) in P. pespaioides from different sampling stations



Table 3 A significant variations among seasons for the results of TPHs in plant species



Table 4 A significant variations among stations for the results of TPHs in plant species



Table 5 Correlation coefficient(r) between temperatures and TPHs in plant species


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