Publication details

Bioavailability of five hydrophobic organic compounds to earthworms from sterile and non-sterile artificial soils

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ŠMÍDOVÁ Klára KIM Sooyeon HOFMAN Jakub

Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Chemosphere
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Bioaccumulation factors; Artificial soil; Sterilization; Organic carbon content; Aging
Description Bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) of organic pollutants to soil biota, often required by risk assessment, are mostly obtained in non-sterile laboratory-contaminated artificial soils. However, microbial degradation has been indicated by many authors to influence the fate of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in soils. A question arises if the microbial community of peat which is used for artificial soil preparation affects the measured values of BAFs. In this study the effect of soil microorganisms on bioavailability of HOCs was studied and a portion of each soil was sterilized by gamma irradiation. Results indicated that the sterilization process significantly affected the fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs; phenanthrene and pyrene) and increased bioavailability of these compounds to earthworms with BAFs several times higher in the sterile soils compared to their non-sterile variants. This suggests that sterilization of soils can be used as the "worst-case scenario" for laboratory tests of toxicity or bioaccumulation of biodegradable HOCs such as PAHs. It represents a situation of limited microbial degradation resulting in higher bioavailable fractions to other organisms (e.g. invertebrates). This may be the case in soils where microbial communities face stresses caused by contamination or land management. The bioavailability of chlorinated HOCs (lindane, 4,4'-DDT and PCB 153) was not affected by sterilization, as their BAFs were similar in the sterile and non-sterile soils during the experiment.
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