Science Inventory

Evaluating the Relationship between Equilibrium Passive Sampler Uptake and Aquatic Organism Bioaccumulation (IPSW)


Joyce, A. AND R. Burgess. Evaluating the Relationship between Equilibrium Passive Sampler Uptake and Aquatic Organism Bioaccumulation (IPSW). 9th International Passive Sampling Workshop and Symposium, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, June 01 - 02, 2017.


Live organisms are a useful tool at contaminated sediment sites to monitor contaminant concentrations in water and sediment and evaluate the bioaccumulation potential of contaminants. However, these sites are often so contaminated that local populations of suitable organisms don’t exist or transplanted populations would not survive. Passive samplers have been developed for several environmentally relevant HOCs (e.g. PCBs, PAHs, and halogenated pesticides) but it remains unclear how comparable they are to traditional biomonitoring organisms. This work presents the results of a critical review comparing biomonitoring organism’s lipid HOC concentrations to HOCs accumulated by co-deployed passive samplers.


This review evaluates passive sampler uptake of hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) as it relates to organism bioaccumulation in the water column and interstitial water. Fifty-five studies were found where both passive samplers and organism bioaccumulation were used to measured water quality. Of these investigations, 19 provided direct comparisons relating passive sampler concentrations and organism bioaccumulation. Passive sampling polymers included in the review were: low density polyethylene (LDPE); polyoxymethylene (POM); and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and organisms ranged from polychaetes and oligochaetes to bivalves, aquatic insects, and gastropods. Log-linear regressions correlating bioaccumulation (CL) and passive sampler concentration (CPS) were used to assess the strength of observed relationships. In general, the passive sampler concentrations resulted in statistically-significant, logarithmic, predictive relationships, most of which were within one to two orders of magnitude of measured bioaccumulation. Overall, bioaccumulation values were greater than passive sampler concentrations. A mean ratio of CL to CPS was 10.8 ± 18.4 (n = 609) for available data. Given that all studies presented resulted in a strong CL versus CPS relationship suggests that using passive sampling as a surrogate for organism bioaccumulation is viable when biomonitoring organisms are not available. Passive sampling based measurements can provide useful information for making informed decisions about the bioavailability of HOCs. However, data was not sufficient to conclude a single governing equation for estimating organism lipid concentrations based on passive sampling concentrations.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 06/01/2017
Record Last Revised: 06/12/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 336597