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Uptake and depuration of nonionic organic contaminants from sediment by the oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus

January 1, 2003

Uptake of sediment-associated contaminants by the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus was evaluated after 1, 3, 7, 14, 28, and 56 d of exposure to a field-collected sediment contaminated with DDT and its metabolites, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDD) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), or to a field-collected sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Depuration of contaminants by oligochaetes in a control sediment or in water was also evaluated over a 7-d period after 28 d of exposure to the field-collected sediments. Accumulation of PAHs with a log octanol-water partitioning coefficient (log Kow) 5.6 or DDD and DDE typically exhibited a steady increase from day 1 to about day 14 or 28, followed by a plateau. Therefore, exposures conducted for a minimum of 14 to 28 d better reflected steady-state concentrations for DDT and its metabolites and for PAHs. Depuration rates for DDT and its metabolites and high-Kow PAHs were much higher in organisms held in clean sediment relative to both water-only depuration and model predictions. This suggests that depuration in clean sediment may artificially accelerate depuration of hydrophobic compounds. Comparisons between laboratory-exposed L. variegatus and oligochaetes collected in the field from these sediments indicate that results of laboratory tests can be extrapolated to the field with a reasonable degree of certainty.