Anthropogenic nitrogen and phosphorus loads in Paranaguá Bay

In the framework of the joint project 'Development of improved strategies for sustainable environmental management in Brazilian harbours' loads and dispersion of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus compounds in the bay of Paranaguá were investigated. A focus was on anthropogenic inputs deriving from the large scale harbour of Paranaguá.

Auswahl von Punktquellen lokaler Nährstoffeinträge im Stadt- und Hafengebiet von Paranaguá im Februar 2008: Gelöste anorganische Phosphor- (PO4-P) und Stickstoffverbindungen (DIN = Ammonium + Nitrit + Nitrat) in Kilogramm pro Tag
ALocal nutrient sources identified in the harbour and city of Paranaguá in February 2008: Arrows indicate the daily discharge of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (PO4-P) and nitrogen compounds (DIN = ammonium + nitrite + nitrate).

Duration: 2006 - 2009

Brazilian harbours are expanding rapidly during the past years. In order to develop strategies to mitigate environmenmtal risks resulting from this economic development it is imparative to identify the potential sources and pathways of pollution. Especially open cargo handling of soy bean products results in an increasing input of organic matter to the marine environment. Another site-specific source of pollution with organic and inorganic nutrients is the fertilizer throughput inside the harbour.

Left: Soy loading at Paranaguá harbour © G. Liebezeit; Right: 'Anhaia' - a sewage channel in Paranaguá © N. Ladwig

In addition, a considerable amount of untreated sewage water deriving from the harbour and city of Paranaguá is discharged into the bay. Only 20 % of the municipal sewage water is subject to wastewater treatment. The input of untreated sewage water constitutes an hygenic risk and several cholera outbreaks have been reported from the area. For this reason bacterial investigations, too, were part of the investigations.

Research Division:


  • Dr. Karl-J. Hesse


  • Dr. Norbert Ladwig
  • Technician Daniela Koch

Brasilian Partners:

  • Centro de Estudos do Mar, Universidade Federal do Paraná

German Partners:

  • Inros Lackner AG Bremen
  • Poremba Consulting
  • Research Centre Terramare Wilhelmshaven

Funded by:

  • German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)