Publication Details

Simpson, S. L., Burston, V. L., Jolley, D. F. & Chau, K. (2006). Application of surrogate methods for assessing the bioavailability of PAHs in sediments to a sediment ingesting bivalve. Chemosphere, 65 (11), 2401-2410.


The usefulness of two surrogate methods for rapidly determining the bioavailability of PAHs in hydrocarbon-contaminated marine sediments was assessed. Comparisons are made between the PAHs accumulated by the benthic bivalve, Tellina deltoidalis, and the extractable-PAHs determined using a 6-h XAD-2 resin desorption method and a 4-h gut fluid mimic (GFM) extraction method. There were significant positive relationships between PAH bioaccumulation by the bivalves and sediment PAH concentrations. These relationships were not improved by normalising the sediment PAH concentrations to the organic carbon concentration. The average percentage lipid content of the bivalves was 1.47 ± 0.22% and BSAFs for total-PAHs ranged from 0.06 to 0.80 (kg OC/kg lipid). The XAD-2 and GFM methods both extracted varying amounts of PAHs from the sediments. Low concentrations of PAHs were extracted by the GFM method (0.2–3.6% of total-PAHs in sediments) and the GFM results were inadequate for generalising about the bioavailability of the PAHs in the sediments. The XAD-2 method extracted greater amounts of PAHs (3–34% of total-PAHs in sediments), however, the total-PAH concentrations in the sediments provided a better, or equally good, prediction of PAH bioaccumulation by T. deltoidalis. The results indicated that these methods required further development before they can be applied routinely as surrogate methods for assessing the bioavailability of PAHs in sediments. Future research should be directed towards lowering detection limits and obtaining comparative data for a greater range of sediment types, contaminant classes and concentrations, and organisms of different feeding guilds and with different gut chemistry.



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