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Biodynamic Modeling of PCB Uptake by Macoma balthica and Corbicula fluminea from Sediment Amended with Activated Carbon

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2008, 00:00 by Pamela B. McLeod, Samuel N. Luoma, Richard G. Luthy
Activated carbon amendment was assessed in the laboratory as a remediation strategy for freshwater sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Grasse River (near Massena, NY). Three end points were evaluated: aqueous equilibrium PCB concentration, uptake into semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs), and 28-day bioaccumulation in the clam Corbicula fluminea. PCB uptake by water, SPMDs, and clams followed similar trends, with reductions increasing as a function of carbon dose. Average percent reductions in clam tissue PCBs were 67, 86, and 95% for activated carbon doses of 0.7, 1.3, and 2.5% dry wt, respectively. A biodynamic model that incorporates sediment geochemistry and dietary and aqueous uptake routes was found to agree well with observed uptake by C. fluminea in our laboratory test systems. Results from this study were compared to 28-day bioaccumulation experiments involving PCB-contaminated sediment from Hunters Point Naval Shipyard (San Francisco Bay, CA) and the clam Macoma balthica. Due to differences in feeding strategy, M. balthica deposit-feeds whereas C. fluminea filter-feeds, the relative importance of the aqueous uptake route is predicted to be much higher for C. fluminea than for M. balthica. Whereas M. balthica takes up approximately 90% of its body burden through sediment ingestion, C. fluminea only accumulates approximately 45% via this route. In both cases, results strongly suggest that it is the mass transfer of PCBs from native sediment to added carbon particles, not merely reductions in aqueous PCB concentrations, that effectively reduces PCB bioavailability and uptake by sediment-dwelling organisms.