Recent studies conducted at our laboratory have shown that sediments contaminated with complex mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can exhibit enhanced toxicity (lethality) to a variety of aquatic species when the samples are tested under ultraviolet (UV) light designed to mimic the wavelengths present in sunlight. However, because these contaminated sediments can contain literally thousands of chemicals, it is difficult to use conventional analytical techniques to identify those compounds responsible for photo-induced toxicity. The purpose of this study was to adapt existing toxicity identification evaluation methods to attempt to identify those compounds contributing to the phototoxicity observed in our sediment samples. Pore water obtained from sediments collected near an oil refinery discharge was toxic to Lumbriculus variegatus following exposure to UV light, while organisms exposed to the same pore water, but without subsequent UV treatment, showed no toxic effect. Solid-phase extraction disks and high-performance liquid chromatography were used, in conjunction with toxicity tests with L. variegatus, to extract and fractionate phototoxic chemicals from the pore water. Phototoxic fractions analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed the presence of a number of aliphatic hydrocarbons, substituted PAHs, and PAHs containing heteroatoms. Chemicals were screened for their phototoxic potential based on empirical data and predictive models. A refined list of PAHs was then evaluated on the basis of their phototoxic potency as defined by a recently developed quantitative structure-activity relationship model and estimates of their bioaccumulation potential. Based on the model predictions of potency and bioaccumulation, nine likely phototoxic chemicals were identified.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|State||Published - Jun 1 1998|
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- Pore water
- Toxicity identification evaluation