Trace metal solid state speciation in aerosols of the northern Levantine Basin, East Mediterranean

Mustafa Koçak, Nilgun Kubilay, Barak Herut, Malcolm Nimmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An established three stage sequential leach scheme was applied to a series of selected high volume aerosol samples (n=35) collected from the Turkish Eastern Mediterranean coastline (Erdemli). Samples were selected according to their air mass back trajectory history to reflect the contrasting mixtures of aerosol material present in the Eastern Mediterranean marine aerosol. Two populations were adopted, those samples which were classed as "anthropogenic" and those which were "Saharan" dominated aerosol populations. Applying the three stage leach it was possible to define the proportion for each of the considered metals (Al, Fe, Cu, Pb, Cd, Zn and Mn) present in the (a) "exchangeable" (b) "carbonate / oxide" and (c) "refractory" phases, representing novel solid state aerosol speciation data for this marine system. Clear trends were established, conforming with data from previous studies with mainly crustal derived metals (Al and Fe) being present in the refractory phases (Al>88%; Fe>84%) and those influenced by anthropogenic sources being dominating in the exchangeable phase, although for these metals the variability was comparatively high (12-64%; 19-85%; 40-100% for Zn, Pb and Cd, respectively). For the majority, greater exchangeable fractions were present the lower the crustal source contribution to the aerosol population, whereas the "refractory" fraction exhibited contrasting behaviour. This was illustrated by the novel application of the mixing diagram, presenting each of the three speciation stages against the corresponding percent anthropogenic contribution to each collected sample. Zn, Pb and Cd all illustrated progressive decrease in the percent exchangeable with increasing crustal contribution to the aerosol population. The percent exchangeable was discussed in terms of its use to represent the upper limit of the bioavailable fraction of metal associated with the aerosol, post deposition. The mixing diagram approach enabled the prediction of the residual fractions for Cd, Pb and Zn (41±4%; 62±4% and 82±5%, respectively,) in Saharan end-member material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-257
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosol
  • Levantine Basin
  • Speciation
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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