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Tenax extraction mimics benthic and terrestrial bioavailability of organic compounds



Biota to sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) are widely used to describe the potential accumulation of organic contaminants in organisms. From field studies it is known that these BSAFs can vary dramatically between sediments of different origin, which is possibly explained by the variation in bioavailability of organic contaminants in sediments. In the present study it is shown that the variability in BSAF values for different sediment samples obtained at two Dutch freshwater sites could largely be explained by the variation in Tenax-extractable concentrations in these sediments. Variations of a factor of about 50 could be explained. The ratio between concentrations in biota and Tenax-extractable concentrations in sediment varied slightly between sediments and contaminant class, but was close to the theoretically expected value of 2. This is a strong indication that Tenax-extractable concentrations of contaminants in sediments are an excellent indicator of available concentrations.