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Prediction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Toxicity Using Equilibrium Partitioning Approach and Narcosis Model

Abstract

The study underscores the use of equilibrium partitioning (EqP) to determine bioavailability and the narcosis theory to estimate toxicity of PAHs to benthic invertebrates. Eight PAHs (anthracene, azuleno(2,1-b)thiophene, benz(a)anthracene, carbazole, dibenzothiophene, benz(a)azulene, dibenzo(a,h)anthracene and phenanthrene) were identified with phenanthrene and carbazole recording the highest (6.29 μg/g) and least (0.06 μg/g) concentrations at both seasons. Based on EqP and Narcosis model, the sum of PAHs toxic unit (∑TU), at both sites is ≪1, suggesting no likelihood of PAHs toxicity to benthic invertebrates. The study suggests continuous PAH monitoring especially with aquatic species due to their transfer to human via food chain.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are very grateful to Dr. Stefan Louw and Désirée Prevoo of the gas chromatography – mass spectrometry laboratory, Central Analytical Faculty of Stellenbosch University, South Africa for assistance in the hydrocarbon analyses.

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Correspondence to I. A. Ololade.

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Ololade, I.A. Prediction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Toxicity Using Equilibrium Partitioning Approach and Narcosis Model. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 85, 238–242 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-010-0090-1

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Keywords

  • Sediments
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Equilibrium partitioning
  • Toxicity units