Sterols in sediment samples from Venice Lagoon, Italy

Elena Fattore, Emilio Benfenati, Roberto Marelli, Etienne Cools, Roberto Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sterols of different origin were analysed in sediment samples collected in the Venice Lagoon. The purpose of the study was to investigate the degree of sewage contamination within the Lagoon using fecal sterols (coprostanol, epicoprostanol and coprostanone) and to analyse the pattern of the sterols to plot the origin of the organic matter. Sedimentary coprostanol at Canal Grande within the city of Venice was more than one order of magnitude higher than other stations in the Lagoon and two orders higher than in a sediment sample collected in the open sea. The cholesterol/coprostanol ratio, like the percentage of coprostanol in total sterols at this sample site was very similar to values in sewage sludge. The different pattern of sterols at station 2 which had the largest amount of total sterol indicates a difference in the origin of the organic material. Nevertheless the sterols used as tracer of terrestrial vascular plants did not show any particular trend at this station, receiving fresh water inputs. β-Sitosterol and cholestanol reached the highest levels at the station within the Chioggia basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2393
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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