PAH effects on meio- and microbial benthic communities strongly depend on bioavailability
Journal article, 2014
The effects of anthropogenic pollutants in dissimilar habitats can vary depending on differences in bioavailability. The factors determining bioavailability are not yet fully understood. This study was performed to evaluate whether analysis of total PAH concentrations in sediments is a satisfactory measurement to indicate environmental effects or if bioavailability is needed to be taken into account. We have here performed a 60-day experiment, where nominal PAH concentrations of 1300. μg/kg sediment were added to three different marine sediments. Meiofaunal and microbial communities were analyzed for alterations in community response at 30 and 60 days.Results showed that bioavailability of PAHs varied between the three different sediments. Nonetheless, the petroleum addition gave rise to significant negative effects on all three sediments at both time points. The two direct measurements of toxicity on the microbial community, potential nitrification and denitrification, displayed a lower effect of the PAH addition in the muddy sediment at both time points, compared to the other two sediment types. No effects were seen in the analysis of meiofaunal community structure. Measurements of PAH bioavailability in the three sediment types concurred with the results from the microbial community, revealing a lower bioavailability in the muddy sediment compared to the other two sediment types, 34% compared to sandy and 18% compared to organic at day 0. At day 60 it was 61% lower compared to sandy and 20% lower compared to organic. The negative effects of the PAH addition on the microbial nitrogen cycle were in six out of eight cases best correlated to the amount of alkylated bioavailable PAH in the sediments, and thus microbial nitrogen cycle is a possible good indicator for assessing PAH-induced stress.The results presented here have implications for risk analysis studies of petroleum-contaminated marine sediments; consequently, sediment characteristics and its effects on bioavailability are important to include. In addition, these results add to the understanding that bioavailability measurements of PAHs are a more correct assessment compared to measurements of total PAH concentrations, and need to be included when estimating effects of PAHs in marine benthic communities. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Inorganic nutrient flux