Passive Samplers Provide a Better Prediction of PAH Bioaccumulation in Earthworms and Plant Roots than Exhaustive, Mild Solvent, and Cyclodextrin Extractions.

Jose L. Gomez-Eyles, Michiel T. O. Jonker, Mark E. Hodson, Chris D. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of extraction methods have been developed to assess polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAR) bioavailability in soils. As these methods are rarely tested in a comparative manner, against different test organisms, and using field-contaminated soils, it is unclear which method gives the most accurate measure of the actual soil ecosystem exposure. In this study, PAH bioavailability was assessed in ten field-contaminated soils by using exhaustive acetone/hexane extractions, mild solvent (butanol) extractions, cyclodextrin extractions, and two passive sampling methods; solid phase micro extraction (SPME) and polyoxymethylene solid phase extraction (POM-SPE). Results were compared to actual PAR bioaccumulation in earthworms (Eisenia fetida) and rye grass (Lolium multiflorum) roots. Exhaustive, mild solvent and cyclodextrin extractions consistently overpredicted biotic concentrations by a factor of 10-10 000 and therefore seem inappropriate for predicting PAR bioaccumulation in field contaminated soils. In contrast, passive samplers generally predicted PAH concentrations in earthworms within a :Factor of 10, although correlations between predicted and measured concentrations were considerably scattered. The same applied to the plant data, where passive samplers also tended to underpredict root concentrations. These results indicate, the potential of passive samplers to predict PAH bioaccumulation, yet call for comparative studies between passive samplers and. further research on plant bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-969
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental science & technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2012

Cite this