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Chronic Toxicity Thresholds for Sediment-Associated Benzo[a]pyrene in the Midge (Chironomus dilutus)

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems and have been shown to be one of the causes of sediment toxicity to benthic invertebrates. Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) was selected as a representative for the PAH family of compounds for developing chronic sediment toxicity thresholds for Chironomus dilutus. Life-cycle toxicity testing was initiated using newly hatched midge larvae and terminated until hatch of the second generation. Median lethal concentrations were 92.5 ± 19.6 and 56.9 ± 1.76 μg/g organic carbon (OC) after exposing midges to sediment-associated BaP for 20 days (before pupation) and 43 days (end of test), respectively. Sublethal toxicity was described as 5 and 50 % effect concentrations (EC5 and EC50), and these were 6.63 ± 0.82 and 41.1 ± 1.61 μg/g OC for growth reduction at 20 days, respectively. Impairments of emergence and reproduction of C. dilutus were also assessed at the end of the testing, and the EC5 and EC50 values were 3.41 ± 0.53 and 26.9 ± 1.43 μg/g OC for emergence and 2.18 ± 0.34 and 13.4 ± 1.13 μg/g OC for reproduction, respectively. In addition, bioavailability-based chronic toxicity thresholds were also established using Tenax-extractable BaP concentrations. Although more environmentally relevant, data regarding chronic toxicity are less available than those regarding acute toxicity. Therefore, establishing numeric chronic toxicity thresholds for sediment-associated BaP with the consideration of the bioavailability would improve the accuracy of assessing PAH-related sediment toxicity.

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Financial support by Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2012ZX07503-003) and National Science Foundation of China (41222024, 41273120 and 41121063) is thankfully acknowledged. We thank Kaylin Huang for helpful comments in the preparation of this manuscript. This is contribution No. IS-1830 from GIGCAS.

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Correspondence to Jing You.

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Du, J., Li, Y., Huang, Z.C. et al. Chronic Toxicity Thresholds for Sediment-Associated Benzo[a]pyrene in the Midge (Chironomus dilutus). Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 66, 370–378 (2014).

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