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Aquatic organisms passively accumulate hydrophobic organic compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, even when ambient water concentrations of the contaminant are below analytical detection limits. However, contaminant concentrations in tissue samples are subject to an inherently high level of variability due to differences in species, life stage, and gender bioconcentration potentials. Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) were used to sample Aroclor 1254, a mixture of readily bioconcentrated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in a contaminated wetland near Flat Top, WV. The devices consisted of triolein, a lipid found in fish, enclosed in a polyethylene membrane. SPMDs were deployed in the water column and in direct contact with wetland sediments along a previously identified concentration gradient of PCBs. The devices were retrieved after a 25-day exposure period. Analytes were recovered by dialyzing the devices in nanograde hexane. Hexane dialysates were condensed and analyzed by gas chromatography. All deployed devices sequestered quantifiable amounts of Aroclor 1254. Water-column SPMDs accumulated PCBs far in excess of ambient water concentrations. The devices contacting sediments accumulated PCBs at all sites, though accumulated concentrations did not exceed concentrations in sediment. Patterns of PCB concentration in the devices corresponded to the identified gradient at the site. Results from the water-column SPMDs were used to estimate the concentration of the dissolved, bioavailable fraction of PCBs present in the water column. These concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 0.09 ??g/L of bioavailable Aroclor 1254.
Additional Publication Details
Semipermeable membrane devices used to estimate bioconcentration of polychlorinated biphenyls
Journal of the American Water Resources Association