Bioavailability and Toxicity of Ionic Organic Compounds in Estaurine Sediments

Project: Research project

Project Details


9810112 Burgos This is an award to support research, the goal of which is to develop a means to predict the sorption, bioavailability and toxicity of ionic organic compounds in estuarine sediments based on scientifically credible mathematical models that relate chemical properties of chemical compounds of pollutional significance to their effect on biological activity such as their rate of degradation and toxicity. The approach being taken in this research involves use of fine-grained, organic-coated minerals as environmentally relevant model sorbents. The minerals to be used in this work are kaolinite and hematite. The ionic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons compounds selected for study are structurally similar and consequently exhibit a similar mode of toxic action, a prerequisite for analyzing results using quantitative structure-activity relationships. Enrichment cultures of test compound-degrading cultures will be prepared using sediment samples from the Sinclair Inlet in Puget Sound obtained in cooperation with the personnel from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

This research addresses issues that may be applied in use of storm water, estuary and toxicity models in assessing ecological risk of activities posing a pollutional threat to coastal waters and in engineering design of systems for management of environmentally significant aquatic sediments. Results of this work are expected to improve prediction of the fate of organic contaminants in estuarine sediments and to estimate the environmental risk posed by leaving these materials in place and as a consequence of moving them to an alternative location. Results may also provide insights into the role pollutants from diffuse and non-point sources play in affecting sediment quality and approaches that can be used to reduce or eliminate their adverse impact on water quality.


Effective start/end date9/15/988/31/03


  • National Science Foundation: $452,287.00


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