Author(s): Hss S, Henschel T, Haitzer M, Traunspurger W, Steinberg CE
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Abstract A bioassay using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was performed with natural sediment that had been spiked with organic matter (36-117 g total organic carbon/kg dry wt) and cadmium (Cd; 10-1,200 mg/kg wet wt). Whole sediment and pore water were tested to study the influence of particulate organic matter (POM) and dissolved organic matter (DOM) on Cd toxicity and to compare the toxicity of the two sediment phases. Toxicity was measured with nematode growth as test parameter. No toxicity was observed if sediment concentrations of Cd were below concentrations of acid-volatile sulfides (AVS). At higher Cd concentrations, toxicity in whole sediment and pore water increased with increasing organic content. This phenomenon was explained by an increase of DOM concentrations in organically enriched treatments and a resulting solubilization of Cd due to Cd complexation by DOM. Because DOM did not alter the bioavailability of Cd for the nematodes, bacteria, serving as food, might have functioned as vectors for Cd-DOM complexes, so that Cd could have become available in the gut of the nematodes. A higher toxicity in whole sediment compared to in pore water in the organically enriched treatments indicated that POM-bound Cd may have contributed to the toxicity of Cd to C. elegans.
This article was published in Environ Toxicol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography