Characterization of dioxin-like contamination in soil and sediments from the “hot spot” area of petrochemical plant in Pancevo (Serbia)

  • Sonja Kaisarevic
  • Klara Hilscherova
  • Roland Weber
  • Kristina L. Sundqvist
  • Mats Tysklind
  • Ernest Voncina
  • Stanka Bobic
  • Nebojsa Andric
  • Kristina Pogrmic-Majkic
  • Mirjana Vojinovic-Miloradov
  • John Paul Giesy
  • Radmila Kovacevic
Research Article



Combinatorial bio/chemical approach was applied to investigate dioxin-like contamination of soil and sediment at the petrochemical and organochlorine plant in Pancevo, Serbia, after the destruction of manufacturing facilities that occurred in the spring of 1999 and subsequent remediation actions.

Materials and methods

Soil samples were analyzed for indicator polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by gas chromatography/electron capture detection (GC/ECD). Prioritized soil sample and sediment samples from the waste water channel were analyzed for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) by high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS). Microethoxyresorufin o-deethylase (Micro-EROD) and H4IIE–luciferase bioassays were used for monitoring of dioxin-like compounds (DLC) and for better characterization of dioxin-like activity of soil samples.


Bioanalytical results indicated high dioxin-like activity in one localized soil sample, while the chemical analysis confirmed the presence of large quantities of DLC: 3.0 × 105 ng/g d.w. of seven-key PCBs, 8.2 ng/g d.w. of PCDD/Fs, and 3.0 × 105 ng/g d.w. of planar and mono-ortho PCBs. In the sediment, contaminant concentrations were in the range 2–8 ng/g d.w. of PCDD/Fs and 9–20 ng/g d.w. of PCBs.


This study demonstrates the utility of combined application of bioassays and instrumental analysis, especially for developing and transition country which do not have capacity of the expensive instrumental analysis. The results indicate the high contamination of soil in the area of petrochemical plant, and PCDD/Fs contamination of the sediment from the waste water channel originating from the ethylene dichloride production.


Dioxin-like activity Ethylene dichloride PCBs PCDD/Fs Pattern analysis Petrochemical industry 



This work was supported by Serbian Ministry of Science Grant No. 143058 and the Project INCHEMBIOL VZ0021622412. Rolf Anderson at the Department of Chemistry, Umeå University is acknowledged for performing comprehensive PCDD/F analysis and PCB analysis of sediments.

Supplementary material

11356_2010_418_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (77 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 76.9 kb)
11356_2010_418_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (318 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 318 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Kaisarevic
    • 1
  • Klara Hilscherova
    • 2
  • Roland Weber
    • 3
  • Kristina L. Sundqvist
    • 4
  • Mats Tysklind
    • 4
  • Ernest Voncina
    • 5
  • Stanka Bobic
    • 6
  • Nebojsa Andric
    • 1
  • Kristina Pogrmic-Majkic
    • 1
  • Mirjana Vojinovic-Miloradov
    • 1
  • John Paul Giesy
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  • Radmila Kovacevic
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Ecotoxicology (LECOTOX)University of Novi Sad Faculty of ScienceNovi SadSerbia
  2. 2.Research Centre for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (RECETOX)Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.POPs Environmental ConsultingGöppingenGermany
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  5. 5.Institute of Public HealthMariborSlovenia
  6. 6.Institute of Occupational HealthNovi SadSerbia
  7. 7.Department Veterinary Biomedical SciencesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  8. 8.Department of Zoology, National Food Safety and Toxicology CentreMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  9. 9.Department of Biology and ChemistryCity University of Hong KongKowloonChina

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