Effects of type and quantity of organic carbon on the bioaccessibility of polychlorinated biphenyls in contaminated sediments

Federico L. Sinche, Sam A. Nutile, Kara E. Huff Hartz, Peter F. Landrum, Michael J. Lydy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Organic carbon principally controls sorption and desorption of hydrophobic organic compounds in sediments. We investigated the effects of organic carbon type and quantity on compound bioaccessibility. The desorption of 21 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners was determined in spiked sediments amended with black carbon, humic acid, and sawdust at either 3 or 6% organic carbon. Desorption parameters were determined using Tenax sequential extractions and then modeled as operationally defined rapid, slow, and very slow fractions and rate constants. The effects of the amendments on PCB bioaccumulation were also evaluated using Lumbriculus variegatus. The lowest and highest PCB bioaccessibilities were observed in the black carbon and sawdust amendments, respectively. The total amount of PCBs desorbed ranged from 3 to 27% for the black carbon amendments, 12 to 55% for humic acid amendments, 16 to 80% for sawdust amendments, and 35 to 89% for controls. The results also showed that desorption of PCBs was slower in 6% amendments than 3% amendments, and this finding was most evident in humic acid and black carbon amendments. Overall, the trend in PCB bioaccumulation was similar to what was found for compound desorption in that the highest PCB bioaccumulation was observed in controls and sawdust amendments, whereas humic acid and black carbon amendments showed lower bioaccumulation. Finally, the 24-h single-point Tenax and bioaccumulation data were fit to a Tenax regression model. The PCB bioaccumulation was effectively predicted by the model, with 80% of the data falling within the 95% confidence intervals. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:1280–1290.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1280-1290
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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