Bioavailability-based assessment of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated activity in Lake Tai Basin from Eastern China

Juan Ying Li, Lei Su, Fenghua Wei, Jianghua Yang, Ling Jin, Xiaowei Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Coupling polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based equilibrium passive sampling with chemical and bioassay analysis, we assessed aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-mediated activity and contributing chemicals in sediment from Lake Tai Basin, Eastern China. The bioanalytical equivalent concentrations (BEQs) of AhR-active chemicals for the exhaustive (total burden) and PDMS extracts (bioavailable fractions) ranged from <9.5-300ng TCDD-EQ/kgdry weight (dw) and <0.096-2.2ng TCDD-EQ/kgdw, respectively, which were of average levels compared to those reported elsewhere. The total concentrations of PAHs in sediment and PDMS were 17-4700μg/kgdw and 0.61-10μg/kgdw, respectively. The majority of the exhaustive extracts subject to acid treatment showed >70% decline in AhR-mediated activity, suggesting the minor contribution by persistent AhR ligands. Targeted analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) showed, however, that these chemicals contributed <40% to the overall effect in both exhaustive and PDMS extracts, indicating the presence of other labile AhR ligands. The concentrations of PAHs and BEQs of the AhR-mediated activity attributed to these chemicals in the exhaustive extracts can be back calculated from those in the PDMS extracts via a general organic carbon-PDMS partition coefficient. Similar quantitative conversion between PDMS and aquatic organisms was also verified for aquatic organisms via the lipid-PDMS partition coefficient. Therefore, our study provided a first insight into the quantitative links between bulk chemical burdens in sediment, chemical bioavailability, bioaccumulation potential and resulting mixture effects, as an integral part of predictive environmental risk assessment of contaminated sediment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016


  • Bioavailability
  • In vitro bioassay
  • Lake Tai Basin
  • Mixture effect
  • Passive sampling
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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