Petroleum hydrocarbon profiles of water and sediment samples of Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa were assessed using standard analytical procedures. Water (from surface and bottom levels) and sediment samples were collected from five locations in the bay from February to June 2016. Extraction of the petroleum hydrocarbons from the water and sediment samples collected was achieved using liquid-liquid and Soxhlet extraction techniques, respectively, followed by column clean up. Target compounds were analytically determined with gas chromatography–flame ionization detector (GC-FID) and quantified by integrating the areas of both the resolved and unresolved components. Physicochemical properties of the water samples were also determined on site using a SeaBird 19plusV2 CTD SBE 55 device. Estimated limit of detection, limit of quantitation and relative standard deviation for the 35 n
-alkane standards ranged from 0.06 to 0.13 μg/L, 0.30 to 0.69 μg/L and 3.61 to 8.32%, respectively. Results showed that total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) varied from 45.07 to 307 μg/L in the water and 0.72 to 27.03 mg/kg in the sediments. The mean concentrations of TPH in both the water and sediment samples from Algoa Bay revealed a slight level of pollution. The diagnostic indices used showed that the hydrocarbons in the area were from both biogenic and anthropogenic sources. Hence, there is need for adequate regulation and control of all activities contributing to the levels of petroleum hydrocarbon in the marine environment for the safety of human, aquatic and wild lives in the area.
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