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Environ Pollut. 2007 Jan;145(1):154-60. Epub 2006 May 19.

Comparison of techniques for estimating PAH bioavailability: uptake in Eisenia fetida, passive samplers and leaching using various solvents and additives.

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Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, SE-90187 Umeå, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to evaluate different techniques for assessing the availability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil. This was done by comparing the amounts (total and relative) taken up by the earthworm Eisenia fetida with the amounts extracted by solid-phase microextraction (SPME), semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs), leaching with various solvent mixtures, leaching using additives, and sequential leaching. Bioconcentration factors of PAHs in the earthworms based on equilibrium partitioning theory resulted in poor correlations to observed values. This was most notable for PAHs with high concentrations in the studied soil. Evaluation by principal component analysis (PCA) showed distinct differences between the evaluated techniques and, generally, there were larger proportions of carcinogenic PAHs (4-6 fused rings) in the earthworms. These results suggest that it may be difficult to develop a chemical method that is capable of mimicking biological uptake, and thus estimating the bioavailability of PAHs.

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