Ecotoxicology (London, England)

Assessment of heavy metals mobility and toxicity in contaminated sediments by sequential extraction and a battery of bioassays.

PMID 26059468


The aim of this study was to assess heavy metals mobility and toxicity in sediments collected from a dam reservoir in the conditions of intensive human impact by using chemical fractionation and a battery of bioassays. In the studies, the test organisms were exposed to substances dissolved in water (Microtox, Phytotestkit) as well to substances absorbed on the surface of solid particles (Phytotoxkit, Ostracodtoxkit F). The studies showed that sediments from the Rybnik reservoir are toxic, but the tested organisms showed different sensitivity to heavy metals occurring in the bottom sediments. The sediment samples were classified as toxic and very toxic. Moreover, the studies showed a higher toxicity in solid phases and whole sediment than in pore water. The lowest sensitivity was observed in H. incongruens (solid phases) and V. fischeri (pore water, whole sediment). The studies revealed that the toxicity of the sediments is caused mainly by heavy metal forms associated with the solid phase of the sediments. The studies did not confirm the metals occurring in fraction I (exchangeable) to be bioavailable and toxic to living organisms because most correlations between the metal concentration in fraction I and the response of the organisms were negative. The highest mobility from the bottom sediments was found in zinc, average mobility--in copper, cadmium and nickel, and low mobility--in chromium and lead. Organic matter is likely to be the most important factor controlling metal distribution and mobility in the studied sediments.