Publications by authors named "Stine N Schmidt"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Evaluating Polymeric Sampling as a Tool for Predicting the Bioaccumulation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls by Fish and Shellfish.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 08 4;54(16):9729-9741. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Coastal Environmental Sciences Division, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, United States.

Recent research has shown that polymeric sampling data generally can predict the bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic contaminants by benthic and sessile invertebrates. Based on literature data, this review evaluated polymeric sampling as a tool for predicting the bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by pelagic and mobile fish and shellfish. Lipid-normalized concentrations () were linked to corresponding equilibrium polymer concentrations () to evaluate the (1) correlation between and , (2) accuracy when using as surrogates for , (3) effects of experimental variables on these results, and (4) implications associated with this approach. Generally, strong positive log-log linear correlations existed between and , meaning that increasing bioaccumulation was well-reflected by increasing polymer accumulation. Further, the majority of the regression lines, as well as individual to ratios, were within a factor of 10 from the hypothetical 1:1 relationship, suggesting that polymers accumulated concentrations comparable to body residues in fish and shellfish. Interestingly, overall stronger correlations and lower to ratios resulted when were based on sediment compared to water column-deployed samplers. These findings provide a tool for environmental managers when assessing and managing risk associated with PCB-contaminated sediments and waters in protecting vulnerable fish and shellfish species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7478847PMC
August 2020

Membrane Enhanced Bioaccessibility Extraction (MEBE) of hydrophobic soil pollutants - Using a semipermeable membrane for separating desorption medium and acceptor solvent.

Environ Pollut 2020 Feb 26;257:113470. Epub 2019 Oct 26.

DTU Environment, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet B115, DK-2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Electronic address:

Bioaccessibility extractions are increasingly applied to measure the fraction of pollutants in soil, sediment and biochar, which can be released under environmentally or physiologically relevant conditions. However, the bioaccessibility of hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs) can be markedly underestimated when the sink capacity of the extraction medium is insufficient. Here, a novel method called "Membrane Enhanced Bioaccessibility Extraction" (MEBE) applies a semipermeable membrane to physically separate an aqueous desorption medium that sets the desorption conditions from an organic medium that serves as acceptor phase and infinite sink. The specific MEBE method combines HOC (1) desorption into a 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin solution, (2) transfer through a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) membrane and (3) release into ethanol, serving as analytical acceptor phase. The surface to volume ratio within the LDPE membrane is maximized for rapid depletion of desorbed molecules, and the capacity ratio between the acceptor phase and the environmental sample is maximized to achieve infinite sink conditions. Several experiments were conducted for developing, optimizing and pre-testing the method, which was then applied to four soils polluted with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. MEBE minimized sample preparation and yielded a solvent extract readily analyzable by HPLC. This study focused on the proof-of-principle testing of the MEBE concept, which now can be extended and applied to other samples and desorption media.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113470DOI Listing
February 2020

Bioaccumulation in Functionally Different Species: Ongoing Input of PCBs with Sediment Deposition to Activated Carbon Remediated Bed Sediments.

Environ Toxicol Chem 2019 10 10;38(10):2326-2336. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA.

Activated carbon-amended bed sediments reduced total polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) accumulation in 3 functionally different marine species, sandworms (Alitta virens), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), and sheepshead minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus), during both clean and contaminated ongoing sediment inputs. Mesocosm experiments were conducted for 90 d to evaluate native, field-aged bed sediment PCBs, and ongoing input PCBs added 3 times a week. Simulated in situ remediation applied an activated carbon dose equal to the native organic carbon content that was premixed into the bed sediment for 1 mo. The highest bioaccumulation of native PCBs was in worms that remained in and directly ingested the sediment, whereas the highest bioaccumulation of the input PCBs was in fish that were exposed to the water column. When periodic PCB-contaminated sediment inputs were introduced to the water column, the activated carbon remedy had minimal effect on the input PCBs, whereas the native bed PCBs still dominated bioaccumulation in the control (no activated carbon). Therefore, remediation of only the local bedded sediment in environmental systems with ongoing contaminant inputs may have lower efficacy for fish and other pelagic and epibenthic organisms. While ongoing inputs continue to obscure remedial outcomes at contaminated sediment sites, the present study showed clear effectiveness of activated carbon amendment remediation on native PCBs despite these inputs but no remediation effectiveness for the input-associated PCBs (at least within the present study duration). Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:2326-2336. Published 2019 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.4526DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6993789PMC
October 2019

Linking algal growth inhibition to chemical activity: Excess toxicity below 0.1% of saturation.

Chemosphere 2018 Oct 29;208:880-886. Epub 2018 May 29.

Technical University of Denmark, Department of Environmental Engineering, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.

Chemical activity quantifies the energetic level of an organic compound relative to its pure liquid [0-1], and several studies have reported that baseline toxicity generally requires chemical activities of 0.01-0.1. The first aim was to challenge this chemical activity range for baseline toxicity. Algal growth inhibition data (median effective concentrations, EC) were compiled from two recent studies and included 108 compounds categorised as non-polar (mode of toxic action, MOA1) and polar (MOA2) narcotics. These data were linked to chemical activity by (1) plotting them relative to a regression for (subcooled) liquid solubility (S), which served as visual reference for chemical activity of unity and (2) determining EC/S ratios that essentially equal median effective chemical activity (Ea). Growth inhibition required chemical activity >0.01 for MOA1 and >0.001 for MOA2 compounds. The second aim was to identify compounds exerting excess toxicity, i.e., when growth inhibition occurred at chemical activity <0.001. From a recent review with 2323 data entries, 315 EC values passed our selection criteria. 280 of these EC values were within or near the baseline toxicity range (Ea>0.001), and 25 compounds were found to exert excess toxicity (Ea<0.001). Of these compounds, 16 are pesticides or precursors. Methodologically, this study includes two methods for translating EC values into the chemical activity framework, each having advantages and limitations. Scientifically, this study confirms that baseline toxicity generally requires chemical activities of 0.01-0.1 and extends the application of the chemical activity approach beyond baseline toxicity, by demonstrating its utility to identify compounds that exert excess toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.05.168DOI Listing
October 2018

Equilibrium sampling reveals increasing thermodynamic potential of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during sewage sludge digestion.

Chemosphere 2018 Sep 19;207:421-429. Epub 2018 May 19.

Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet B115, DK-2800, Kgs, Lyngby, Denmark. Electronic address:

The reuse of digested sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as soil fertilizer poses a risk for contamination of soil and water environments. The present study provides a new approach for investigating the exposure of hydrophobic organic chemicals in sewage sludge. The methodology of equilibrium sampling with multiple thicknesses of silicone was successfully validated and applied to complex sludge matrices. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in silicone (C) were determined and compared across four WWTPs. Activity ratios (ARs), defined as C at equilibrium with digested sludge (final product) over C at equilibrium with secondary sludge (intermediate product), were in the range 0.85-20 with all except one AR>1. These ARs thus revealed increased thermodynamic potential of both parent and alkylated PAHs in digested sludge compared with secondary sludge, and thereby higher exposure of PAHs in sludge after digestion than before digestion. This observation can be explained by the concept of "solvent depletion" as organic matter decreased by a factor of 1.3 during digestion, resulting in reduced sorptive capacity and increased freely dissolved concentrations (C). The PAHs with logK > 6 had ARs close to 1.3, whereas PAHs with logK < 6 showed higher ARs than the organic matter decrease factor of 1.3. C in digested sludge were higher than reported in rural soil and generally consistent with levels reported for Baltic Sea sediment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.05.104DOI Listing
September 2018

Cross Validation of Two Partitioning-Based Sampling Approaches in Mesocosms Containing PCB Contaminated Field Sediment, Biota, and Activated Carbon Amendment.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Sep 21;51(17):9996-10004. Epub 2017 Aug 21.

Technical University of Denmark , Department of Environmental Engineering, Kongens Lyngby 2800, Denmark.

The Gold Standard for determining freely dissolved concentrations (C) of hydrophobic organic compounds in sediment interstitial water would be in situ deployment combined with equilibrium sampling, which is generally difficult to achieve. In the present study, ex situ equilibrium sampling with multiple thicknesses of silicone and in situ pre-equilibrium sampling with low density polyethylene (LDPE) loaded with performance reference compounds were applied independently to measure polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in mesocosms with (1) New Bedford Harbor sediment (MA, U.S.A.), (2) sediment and biota, and (3) activated carbon amended sediment and biota. The aim was to cross validate the two different sampling approaches. Around 100 PCB congeners were quantified in the two sampling polymers, and the results confirmed the good precision of both methods and were in overall good agreement with recently published LDPE to silicone partition ratios. Further, the methods yielded C in good agreement for all three experiments. The average ratio between C determined by the two methods was factor 1.4 ± 0.3 (range: 0.6-2.0), and the results thus cross-validated the two sampling approaches. For future investigations, specific aims and requirements in terms of application, data treatment, and data quality requirements should dictate the selection of the most appropriate partitioning-based sampling approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b01909DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705054PMC
September 2017

Enhanced Accessibility of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Heterocyclic PAHs in Industrially Contaminated Soil after Passive Dosing of a Competitive Sorbate.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Jul 7;51(14):8017-8026. Epub 2017 Jul 7.

IFA-Tulln, BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences , Vienna, 3430 Tulln, Austria.

To assess the exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) it is important to understand the binding mechanisms between specific soil constituents and the organic pollutant. In this study, sorptive bioaccessibility extraction (SBE) was applied to quantify the accessible PAH fraction in industrially contaminated soil with and without passive dosing of a competitive sorbate. SBE experiments revealed an accessible PAH fraction of 41 ± 1% (∑16 US EPA PAHs + 5 further PAHs). The passive dosing of toluene below its saturation level revealed competitive binding and resulted in an average increase of the accessible fraction to 49 ± 2%, whereby primarily the accessibility of higher molecular weight PAHs (log K > 6) was affected. Competitive binding was verified using the same soil with only desorption-resistant PAHs present. In this experiment, passive dosing of toluene resulted in desorption of 13 ± 0.4% PAH. We explain increased PAH desorption after addition of toluene by competitive adsorption to high-affinity sorption sites while acknowledging that toluene could additionally have increased PAH mobility within the soil matrix. Findings suggest that the presence of copollutants at contaminated sites deserves specific considerations as these may increase accessibility and thereby exposure and mobility of PAHs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b01198DOI Listing
July 2017

Microplastics as vectors for environmental contaminants: Exploring sorption, desorption, and transfer to biota.

Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017 May;13(3):488-493

Technical University of Denmark, Department of Environmental Engineering, Kgs Lyngby, Denmark.

The occurrence and effects of microplastics (MPs) in the aquatic environment are receiving increasing attention. In addition to their possible direct adverse effects on biota, the potential role of MPs as vectors for hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs), compared to natural pathways, is a topic of much debate. It is evident, however, that temporal and spatial variations of MP occurrence do (and will) occur. To further improve the estimations of the role of MPs as vectors for HOC transfer into biota under varying MP concentrations and environmental conditions, it is important to identify and understand the governing processes. Here, we explore HOC sorption to and desorption from MPs and the underlying principles for their interactions. We discuss intrinsic and extrinsic parameters influencing these processes and focus on the importance of the exposure route for diffusive mass transfer. Also, we outline research needed to fill knowledge gaps and improve model-based calculations of MP-facilitated HOC transfer in the environment. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2017;13:488-493. © 2017 SETAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ieam.1904DOI Listing
May 2017

A high throughput passive dosing format for the Fish Embryo Acute Toxicity test.

Chemosphere 2015 Nov 27;139:9-17. Epub 2015 May 27.

Zebrafishlab, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.

High throughput testing according to the Fish Embryo Acute Toxicity (FET) test (OECD Testing Guideline 236) is usually conducted in well plates. In the case of hydrophobic test substances, sorptive and evaporative losses often result in declining and poorly controlled exposure conditions. Therefore, our objective was to improve exposure conditions in FET tests by evaluating a passive dosing format using silicone O-rings in standard 24-well polystyrene plates. We exposed zebrafish embryos to a series of phenanthrene concentrations until 120h post fertilization (hpf), and obtained a linear dilution series. We report effect values for both mortality and sublethal morphological effects based on (1) measured exposure concentrations, (2) (lipid normalized) body residues and (3) chemical activity. The LC50 for 120hpf was 310μg/L, CBR50 (critical body residue) was 2.72mmol/kg fresh wt and La50 (lethal chemical activity) was 0.047. All values were within ranges expected for baseline toxicity. Impaired swim bladder inflation was the most pronounced morphological effect and swimming activity was reduced in all exposure concentrations. Further analysis showed that the effect on swimming activity was not attributed to impaired swim bladder inflation, but rather to baseline toxicity. We conclude that silicone O-rings (1) produce a linear dilution series of phenanthrene in the 120hpf FET test, (2) generate and maintain aqueous concentrations for reliable determination of effect concentrations, and allow for obtaining mechanistic toxicity information, and (3) cause no toxicity, demonstrating its potential as an extension of the FET test when testing hydrophobic chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.05.041DOI Listing
November 2015

Linking algal growth inhibition to chemical activity: baseline toxicity required 1% of saturation.

Chemosphere 2015 Feb 24;120:305-8. Epub 2014 Aug 24.

Department of Environmental Engineering, DTU Environment, Technical University of Denmark, Miljøvej 113, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Electronic address:

Recently, high-quality data were published on the algal growth inhibition caused by 50 non-polar narcotic compounds, of which 39 were liquid compounds with defined water solubility. In the present study, the toxicity data for these liquids were applied to challenge the chemical activity range for baseline toxicity. First, the reported effective concentrations (EC50) were divided by the respective water solubilities (S water), since the obtained EC50/S water ratio essentially equals the effective chemical activity (Ea50). The majority of EC50/S water ratios were within the expected chemical activity range of 0.01-0.1 for baseline toxicity, and none of the ratios were significantly below 0.01. On a practical level, these findings suggest EC50 values for baseline toxicity to be at or above 1% of liquid solubility, which would have been accurate or conservative for all 39 liquids with defined water solubility in the applied dataset. On an environmental risk assessment level, predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs) for baseline toxicity could even be set as a percentage of saturation, which can easily be extended to mixtures. However, EC50 values well below 1% of liquid saturation can still occur and would be a direct indication of excess toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.07.006DOI Listing
February 2015

Simultaneous control of phenanthrene and drought by dual exposure system: the degree of synergistic interactions in springtails was exposure dependent.

Environ Sci Technol 2014 Aug 24;48(16):9737-44. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University , Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.

Organisms in the environment are exposed to multiple stressors. However, for terrestrial invertebrates, it remains difficult to study the effects of combined stressors under well-defined exposure conditions. Thus, the current study develops a new dual exposure system for the simultaneous and independent control of chemical and drought exposure in bioassays with terrestrial organisms: Passive dosing from silicone controlled the chemical activity of phenanthrene (chemical stress), while saline solutions controlled the water activity (drought stress) in the closed exposure system. The dual exposure system was then applied in a full factorial experiment with seven exposure levels (7(2)), which aimed at determining the combined effects of phenanthrene and drought on the survival of the terrestrial springtail Folsomia candida after 7 d exposure. Fitting an "independent action" model to the complete data set revealed statistically significant synergy between phenanthrene and drought (p < 0.0001). However, the degree of synergy was exposure dependent with some synergy at higher and only minor synergy at lower exposure levels. This emphasizes the need for taking exposure levels into account when extrapolating synergy observations from (eco)toxicological studies done at high exposure levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es501331mDOI Listing
August 2014

Physiological and molecular responses of springtails exposed to phenanthrene and drought.

Environ Pollut 2014 Jan 3;184:370-6. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, PO Box 314, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark. Electronic address:

Interaction between effects of hazardous chemicals in the environment and adverse climatic conditions is a problem that receives increased attention in the light of climate change. We studied interactive effects of phenanthrene and drought using a test system in which springtails (Folsomia candida Willem) were concurrently exposed to a sublethal phenanthrene level via passive dosing from silicone (chemical activity of 0.010), and sublethal drought from aqueous NaCl solutions (water activity of 0.988). Previous studies have shown that the combined effects of high levels of phenanthrene and drought, respectively, interact synergistically when using lethality as an end-point. Here, we hypothesized that phenanthrene interferes with physiological mechanisms involved in drought tolerance, and that drought influences detoxification of phenanthrene. However, this hypothesis was not supported by data since phenanthrene had no effect on drought-protective accumulation of myo-inositol, and normal water conserving mechanisms of F. candida were functioning despite the near-lethal concentrations of the toxicant. Further, detoxifying induction of cytochrome P450 and glutathione-S-transferase was not impeded by drought. Both phenanthrene and drought induced transcription of heat shock protein (hsp70) and the combined effect of the two stressors on hsp70 transcription was additive, suggesting that the cellular stress and lethality imposed by these levels of phenanthrene and drought were also additive.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2013.09.005DOI Listing
January 2014

Passive dosing of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) mixtures to terrestrial springtails: linking mixture toxicity to chemical activities, equilibrium lipid concentrations, and toxic units.

Environ Sci Technol 2013 Jul 25;47(13):7020-7. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, PO Box 358, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark.

A 7-day mixture toxicity experiment with the terrestrial springtail Folsomia candida was conducted, and the effects were linked to three different mixture exposure parameters. Passive dosing from silicone was applied to tightly control exposure levels and compositions of 12 mixture treatments, containing the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene. Springtail lethality was then linked to sum chemical activities (∑a), sum equilibrium lipid concentrations (∑C(lipid eq.)), and sum toxic units (∑TU). In each case, the effects of all 12 mixture treatments could be fitted to one sigmoidal exposure-response relationship. The effective lethal chemical activity (La50) of 0.027 was well within the expected range for baseline toxicity of 0.01-0.1. Linking the effects to the lipid-based exposure parameter yielded an effective lethal concentration (LC(lipid eq 50)) of 133 mmol kg(-1) lipid in good correspondence with the lethal membrane burden for baseline toxicity (40-160 mmol kg(-1) lipid). Finally, the effective lethal toxic unit (LTU50) of 1.20 was rather close to the expected value of 1. Altogether, passive dosing provided tightly controlled mixture exposure in terms of both level and composition, while ∑a, ∑C(lipid eq.), and ∑TU allowed baseline toxicity to be linked to mixture exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es3047813DOI Listing
July 2013

Baseline toxic mixtures of non-toxic chemicals: "solubility addition" increases exposure for solid hydrophobic chemicals.

Environ Sci Technol 2013 Feb 1;47(4):2026-33. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, PO Box 358, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark.

This study addresses the question whether hydrophobic organic chemicals exerting no toxicity at their solubility limit (saturation) can form a toxic mixture. Spiking methods generally do not allow testing exactly at saturation without introducing microcrystals. Passive dosing was thus applied to test the acute toxicity of several high melting point PAHs and their mixtures at the respective saturation levels to aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. With the aquatic Daphnia magna, anthracene, chrysene, and benzo(a)pyrene resulted in no or limited acute toxicity (0-20%), whereas binary and tertiary mixtures of these resulted in significant acute toxicity (70-88%). Toxicity of PAHs and their mixtures could be fitted with one (sum) chemical activity-response curve in accordance with a similar mode of toxic action (i.e., concentration addition). The effective chemical activity (Ea-50) of 0.029 and the effective concentration on a lipid basis (EC(lipid, eq.)-50) of 95.7 mM were well within the range for baseline toxicity. Similar mixtures showed less toxicity to the terrestrial Folsomia candida due to steady-state body-burdens being below equilibrium partitioning levels. The results of the present study raise questions about the focus of risk assessment schemes and toxicity testing guidelines on individual substances, since apparently non-toxic chemicals might become toxic in a mixture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es3040472DOI Listing
February 2013

Fungal PAH-metabolites resist mineralization by soil microorganisms.

Environ Sci Technol 2010 Mar;44(5):1677-82

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Department of Geochemistry, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

This study investigated the mineralization of water-soluble polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolites produced by the soil fungus Cunninghamella elegans. Eleven soil fungi were screened for their ability to metabolize (14)C-phenanthrene, (14)C-fluoranthene, and (14)C-pyrene into water-soluble compounds. Eight fungi produced water-soluble metabolites from all or some of the PAHs. The composition of the water-soluble PAH-metabolites from the most effective solubilizer C. elegans was analyzed by an ultraperformance liquid chromatograph interfaced to a quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer. Thirty-eight metabolites were detected. All of 34 identified metabolites were sulfate-conjugated. The mineralization of (14)C-metabolites, produced by C. elegans, was compared to mineralization of the parent (14)C-PAHs in soil slurries. It was hypothesized that the increased bioavailability and metabolic activation of the metabolites would increase mineralization in soil slurries compared to mineralization of the parent PAHs. Unexpectedly, the mineralization of the (14)C-metabolites was in all cases extremely slow compared to the mineralization of the parent (14)C-PAHs. Slow (14)C-metabolite mineralization was not caused by metabolite toxicity, neither was cometabolic mineralization of (14)C-metabolites stimulated by the presence of active PAH-degraders. High water solubility, low lipophilicity, and extremely slow mineralization of the metabolites indicate a potential problem of leaching of fungal PAH-metabolites to the groundwater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es903415tDOI Listing
March 2010