Brown macroalgae as bio-indicators for heavy metals pollution of Al-Jubail coastal area of Saudi Arabia

  • Areej H Alkhalifa
  • Ali A Al-Homaidan
  • Afaf I Shehata
  • Hussein H Al-Khamis
  • Abdullah A Al-Ghanayem
  • Abdelnasser SS Ibrahim
Keywords: Brown algae, heavy metals, bio-indicators, Sargassum sp., Padina sp.


Wastes from both industrial and domestic sources, as well as habitat destruction have a substantial impact on the coastal environments. It causes serious problems in many countries and for several seas and oceans which leads to the extinction of several plant and animal species. Many water resources are no longer suitable for drinking or for agriculture as a result of pollution. The main aim of this study was to investigate the efficiency of four brown macroalage as bioindicators for toxic heavy metals (manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), arsenite (As), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb)) along Al-jubail industrial city coast at Persian Gulf (Saudi Arabia). Brown macroalage samples were collected from three different sites in three time points, January, March and May, 2010. The four collected brown macroalgae were identified as Sargassum angustifolium, Sargassum boveanum, Sargassum latifolium, and Padina gymnospora. The algal samples were cleaned using sea water and distilled water, dried, and the concentrations of various toxic metals were determined. The average concentrations of Mn, Co, Ni and Cd were within the expected limits of un-contaminated areas. However, the results indicate the high level of Zn ion accumulation in all tested brown algae, showing highest concentration in S. angustifolium > P. gymnospora > S. latifolium > S. boveanum with highest Zn concentration of 991 ± 49.1, 988 ± 47.5, 980 ± 44.2, and 911 ± 39.7 µg g-1 dry weights, respectively. In addition, Cu was detected at high concentration of 92.1 ± 3.7 ìg g-1 dry weight in S. boveanum. These results clearly indicate the high pollution levels of Al-jubail industrial city coast with Zn and Cu toxic heavy metals, which is mostly due to uncontrolled disposal of industrial waste into coastal area. Furthermore, the consistency of Zn concentrations in all tested brown algae indicated the efficiency of the tested algae, including P. gymnospora, S. angustifolium, S. latifolium, and S. boveanum, for bioaccumulation and bio-monitoring studies of Zn.

Key words: Brown algae, heavy metals, bio-indicators, Sargassum sp., Padina sp.


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eISSN: 1684-5315