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Effect of sample holding time on bioaccessibility and sediment ecotoxicological assessments

November 1, 2018

The ecotoxicological effects of hydrophobic organic compound (HOC) contamination in sediment are often
assessed using laboratory exposures of cultured invertebrates to field-collected sediment. The use of a
sediment holding time (storage at 4°C) between field sampling and the beginning of the bioassay is common
practice, yet the effect of holding time on the reliability of bioassay results is largely unknown, especially
for current-use HOCs, such as pyrethroid insecticides. Single-point Tenax extraction can be used
to estimate HOC concentrations in the rapidly desorbing phase of the organic carbon fraction of sediment
(i.e., bioaccessible concentrations), which relate to sediment toxicity and bioaccumulation in invertebrates. In
this study, repeated measurements of bioaccessible concentrations (via Tenax), were made as a function of
sediment holding time using pyrethroid-contaminated field sediment, and Hyalella azteca 10-d survival and
growth was measured concurrently for comparison. Similarly, bioaccessible concentrations and 14-d bioaccumulation
were measured in Lumbriculus variegatus as a comparison using the legacy HOCs, polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs). While the bioaccessible and bioaccumulated PCB concentrations did not change significantly
through 244d of holding time, the bioaccessible pyrethroid concentrations were more varied. Depending
on when pyrethroid-contaminated sediments were sampled, the bioaccessible pyrethroid concentrations
showed first-order loss with half-lives ranging from 3 to 45 d of holding, or slower, linear decreases in concentrations
up to 14% decrease over 180 d. These findings suggest that at least for some contaminants in sediments,
holding the sediments prior to bioassays can bias toxicity estimates

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Effect of sample holding time on bioaccessibility and sediment ecotoxicological assessments
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.06.065
Authors Kara S Huff Hartz, Federico L. Sinche, Samuel A. Nutile, Courtney Y. Fung, Patrick W. Moran, Peter C. Van Metre, Lisa H. Nowell, Marc A. Mills, Michael J Lydy
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Pollution
Series Number
Index ID 70205562
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division