Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 80-90

First online:

Predicting the Bioavailability of Sediment-Associated Spiked Compounds by Using the Polyoxymethylene Passive Sampling and Tenax® Extraction Methods in Sediments from Three River Basins in Europe

  • Arto J. SormunenAffiliated withFaculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu Email author 
  • , Anita I. TuikkaAffiliated withFaculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu
  • , Jarkko AkkanenAffiliated withFaculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu
  • , Matti T. LeppänenAffiliated withFaculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu
  • , Jussi V. K. KukkonenAffiliated withFaculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu

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This study presents the bioavailability of four spiked compounds to Lumbriculus variegatus, in sediment samples from three river basins in Europe: the Elbe, the Llobregat, and the Scheldt. Twenty sediment samples differing in physical and chemical properties were spiked with chlorpyrifos, pyrene, tetrachloribiphenyl, and tetrabromo diphenyl ether. The main focus of this study was to compare the suitability of two chemical approaches—the rapidly desorbing fraction method based on the Tenax® extraction and the freely dissolved chemical concentration method based on polyoxymethylene passive sampling—for predicting the bioavailability of sediment-associated hydrophobic compounds. It appears that accessible concentration estimated by Tenax extraction does not result in equal freely dissolved concentrations based on polyoxymethylene passive sampling results. The present data show that freely dissolved concentration in pore water mainly determines the uptake by organisms and, therefore, the polyoxymethylene passive sampling method was a successful approach to estimating the bioavailability of sediment-associated lipophilic contaminants (log octanol–water partitioning coefficient >6). The sediment characteristics or river basin differences had only a minor effect on the bioavailability estimates. Overall, passive samplers have not been tested to a sufficient extent in various chemicals or exposure matrixes. For this reason, bioassays are still needed in the risk assessment process in order to verify results based on passive sampling methods.