Development of sediment reference sample for toxicity testing using Microtox Solid Phase test and Metal Fractionation using single extractions
Chemical characterisation of pollutants using fractionation techniques and bioassays are useful monitoring tools for sediment quality assessment. However, a common criticism of sediment bioassays is the lack of an appropriate reference sediment sample which sample sediment toxicity can be comparatively assessed. In this study an approach of obtaining a reference sediment sample by cleaning the sediment samples with metals was tested. Metal fractionation was carried out by applying single extraction techniques modified from a sequential extraction scheme proposed by Tessier et al (1979). The total metal concentrations were characterised using nitric acid digestion. The sediment samples before and after the extractions were analysed using the Microtox Solid Phase Test (SPT). Comparison of total metal concentration with various sediment quality guidelines suggests that the sediments are polluted due to higher concentrations of Cu , Ni , Pb , Cd and Zn. The fractionation studies reveal that metals are contained mainly within Fe-Mn Oxide phase.The comparison of the results of the SPT with various sediment classification methods suggests that the sediments are moderately toxic to non toxic. However, the results of changes in the toxicity of sediment residues obtained after each extraction compared to unprocessed sediment toxicity results are not statistically significant. But the comparison of toxicity results of sediment residues obtained after HNO3 and NaOAc digestion with the toxicity value of replicate1 of unprocessed sediment suggests a marginal decrease in the toxicity of sediments while the comparison of toxicity values of MgCl2 , NH2OH.HCl, HNO3+H2O2 indicates an increase in the toxicity of sediment residued. The comparison of toxicity values of all sediment residues with that of replicate2 of unprocessed sediment indicates an increase in the toxicity of the sediments after extractions.
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With the growing interest in the rules that govern the fate of pollutants in urban environments, the sediments of urban rivers pose a particularly challenging scientific problem as many persistent contaminants (e.g. metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs)) tend to concentrate in river bed sediments. Therefore, the assessment of sediment quality is recognised as a critical step in understanding the risks associated with man made pollution in the riverine system (De Miguel et al , 2005). Depending upon the conditions in the river, pollutants bound to sediment may become bioavailable and impose toxicity on aquatic organisms. Chemical analysis alone is not adequate to explain effects of chemicals present in the sediment (Beg and Ali, 2008) as they do not prove that adverse effects are occurring (Luoma et al ,
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