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Keywords:

  • Biota sediment accumulation factor;
  • Nereis virens;
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl;
  • Pulse-chase;
  • Sediment

Abstract

Evaluation of dredged material for aquatic placement requires assessment of bioaccumulation potentials for benthic organisms using standardized laboratory bioaccumulation tests. Critical to the interpretation of these data is the assessment of steady state for bioaccumulated residues needed to generate biota sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) and to address control correction of day 0 contaminant residues measured in bioassay organisms. This study applied a novel performance reference compound approach with a pulse-chase experimental design to investigate elimination of a series of isotopically labeled polychlorinated biphenyl (13C-PCBs) in the polychaete worm Nereis virens while simultaneously evaluating native PCB bioaccumulation from field-collected sediments. Results demonstrated that all 13C-PCBs, with the exception of 13C-PCB209 (> 80%), were eliminated by more than 90% after 28 d. The three sediment types yielded similar 13C-PCB whole-body elimination rate constants (ktot) producing the following predictive equation: log ktot =  − 0.09 × log KOW − 0.45. The rapid loss of 13C-PCBs from worms over the bioassay period indicated that control correction, by subtracting day 0 residues, would result in underestimates of bioavailable sediment residues. Significant uptake of native PCBs was observed only in the most contaminated sediment and proceeded according to kinetic model predictions with steady-state BSAFs ranging from 1 to 3 and peaking for congeners of log KOW between 6.2 and 6.5. The performance reference compound approach can provide novel information about chemical toxicokinetics and also serve as a quality check for the physiological performance of the bioassay organism during standardized bioaccumulation testing. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1366–1375. © 2011 SETAC