This paper reviews recent developments in methods for evaluating the toxicity and bioaccumulation of contaminants associated with freshwater sediments and summarizes example case studies demonstrating the application of these methods. Over the past decade, research has emphasized development of more specific testing procedures for conducting 10-d toxicity tests with the amphipod Hyalella azteca and the midge Chironomus tentans. Toxicity endpoints measured in these tests are survival for H. azteca and survival and growth for C. tentans. Guidance has also been developed for conducting 28-d bioaccumulation tests with the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus, including determination of bioaccumulation kinetics for different compound classes. These methods have been applied to a variety of sediments to address issues ranging from site assessments to bioavailability of organic and inorganic contaminants using field-collected and laboratory-spiked samples. Survival and growth of controls routinely meet or exceed test acceptability criteria. Results of laboratory bioaccumulation studies with L. variegatus have been confirmed with comparisons to residues (PCBs, PAHs, DDT) present from synoptically collected field populations of oligochaetes. Additional method development is currently underway to develop chronic toxicity tests and to provide additional data-confirming responses observed in laboratory sediment tests with natural benthic populations.
Additional publication details
Toxicity and bioaccumulation of sediment-associated contaminants using freshwater invertebrates: A review of methods and applications
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Columbia Environmental Research Center