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Chemosphere. 1999 Apr;38(10):2327-43.

Levels of dioxin-like compounds in sewage sludge determined with a bioassay based on EROD induction in chicken embryo liver cultures.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Toxicology, Uppsala University, Sweden. Magnus.Engwall@Etox.uu.se

Abstract

A bioassay for the detection of dioxin-like compounds was used to estimate levels in sewage sludge from Swedish sewage treatment plants (STPs). The sludge extracts were HPLC-separated into three fractions containing a) monoaromatic/aliphatic, b) diaromatic (e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans [PCDDs/Fs]), and c) polyaromatic compounds (e.g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]). The bioassay, which is based on EROD (7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase) induction in cultured chicken embryo livers detected dioxin-like activity in all unfractionated extracts and in the di- and polyaromatic fractions of all sludge extracts, but not in the monoaromatic/aliphatic fractions. The levels ranged between 6 and 109 pg bio-TEQ/g sludge (d.w.). In sediment samples from rural lakes in Sweden, levels of about 5 pg bio-TEQ/g (d.w.) have been found. The polyaromatic fractions of the sludge samples were potent in the bioassay, probably due to various PAHs and other polyaromatics in the sludge. The levels of six PAHs that are screened for in the sludge at Swedish STPs accounted for only 3-10% of the observed EROD-induction by the polyaromatic fractions. Consequently, many other polyaromatic EROD-inducing compounds were present in the sludge. Inclusion of a biological test like the chicken embryo liver bioassay in the screening of sludge would improve the ability to detect the presence of bioactive dioxin-like compounds. A theoretical estimation of bio-TEQ concentrations in farm-soil following long-term application of sludge with bio-TEQ concentrations similar to those observed in this investigation indicated that the bio-TEQ levels in soil would increase very slowly over time. The chicken embryo liver bioassay proved useful in assessing levels of dioxin-like compounds in sewage sludge and it gives valuable complementary information to chemical analysis data.

PMID:
10101868
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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