Use of biological detection methods to assess dioxin-like compounds in sediments of Bohai Bay, China.


Bohai Bay, in the western region of northeastern China's Bohai Sea, receives water from large rivers containing various pollutants including dioxin-like compounds (DLCs). This study used the established zebrafish (Danio rerio) model, its known developmental toxicity endpoints and sensitive molecular analyses to evaluate sediments near and around an industrial effluent site in Bohai Bay. The primary objective was to assess the efficacy of rapid biological detection methods as an addition to chemical analyses. Embryos were exposed to various concentrations of sediment extracts as well as a 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) positive control. Exposure to sediment extract nearest the discharge site (P1) resulted in the most severe- and highest rates of change in embryos and larvae, suggesting that DLC contaminated sediment probably did not occur much beyond it. P1 extract resulted in concentration dependent increases in mortality and pericardial edema. Its highest concentration caused up-regulation of P-450 (CYP)-1A1(CYP1A) mRNA expression at 72 h post fertilization (hpf), an increase in its expression in gill arches as observed by whole mount in situ hybridization, and an increased signal in the Tg(cyp1a: mCherry) transgenic line. The pattern and magnitude of response was very similar to that of TCDD and supported the presence of DLCs in these sediment samples. Follow-up chemical analysis confirmed this presence and identified H7CDF, O8CDF and O8CDD as the main components in P1 extract. This study validates the use of biological assays as a rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective method to evaluate DLCs and their effects in sediment samples. Additionally, it provides support for the conclusion that DLCs have limited remobilization capacity in marine sediments.





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Publication Info

Dong, Wenjing, Feng Wang, Mingliang Fang, Jie Wu, Shuaiyu Wang, Ming Li, Jingfeng Yang, Melissa Chernick, et al. (2019). Use of biological detection methods to assess dioxin-like compounds in sediments of Bohai Bay, China. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 173. pp. 339–346. 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.01.116 Retrieved from

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