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A simple Tenax® extraction method to determine the availability of sediment-sorbed organic compounds



A simple method to determine the availability of sediment-sorbed organic contaminants was developed and validated. For 10 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 4 polychlorinated biphenyls, and 9 chlorobenzenes in 6 sediments, we measured the fraction extracted by Tenax® in 6 and 30 h. These fractions were compared with the rapidly desorbing fractions determined by consecutive Tenax extraction. Extraction by Tenax for 30 h completely removed the rapidly desorbing fraction plus some part of the slowly desorbing fraction. The fraction removed after 30 h was about 1.4 times the rapidly desorbing fraction. The fraction extracted by Tenax after 6 h is about 0.5 times the rapidly desorbing fraction for chlorobenzenes (CBs)/polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The rapidly desorbing fraction probably represents the fraction of sorbed organic compound that poses actual risks for transport to (ground) water and determines the uptake by organisms and that can be microbially degraded. Extraction by Tenax for 6 h provides an easy way to address these issues more accurately than does the measurement of total concentrations.