Superfund Research Program
Developing and Evaluating Technology to Measure PAH Fate and Exposures
Project Leader: Kim A. Anderson
Grant Number: P42ES016465
Funding Period: 2009-2025
Significant progress has been made over the last year by Dr. Kim Anderson and her research group. The four Specific Aims remain largely unchanged:
- Further develop environmental exposure bio-analytical measurement technologies capable of quantitatively sequestering bioavailable contaminant concentrations;
- Utilize the zebrafish developmental model to test the relative potency of passive sampling device (PSD) extracts from current Superfund, urban, and undeveloped sites;
- Develop discriminatory chemical/physical fractions and constructions of PSD extracts from signatory biological responses in the zebrafish model; and
- Develop discriminatory pattern recognition and multivariate regression assessments of co-varying components in PSD extracts and contaminant source type.
The development and validation of the first bio-analytical tool has been completed. The lipid-free passive sampler has been validated and field deployed at multiple Superfund sites during 2011 as well as complementary studies using PSD in the Gulf of Mexico for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and western Africa for pesticides. Three new complementary types of silicone passive samples were laboratory tested. The research group successfully developed technical approaches for the infusion of performance reference compounds so the technology would have in situ calibration applications. The LFT PSD and three silicone PSDs were further field tested in a robust replicate co-deployment study in the Portland Harbor Superfund site and in the Gulf of Mexico. A prototype sediment PSD was developed and field tested. The research group has developed methods for PAH extraction and analysis of PAHs from the silicone PSD. In collaboration with the Analytical Chemistry Research Support Core, the research group has developed a method for quinone and ketone-substituted PAHs (OPAHs) for the silicone extracts, using both GCMS and LCMS for 25 target OPAHS. Both of these methods have recently been validated and analysis of field samples has begun.
LFT PSD extracts from the 2009/2010 field seasons were employed in the zebrafish embryonic model. Demonstrating the high throughput capacity of the model, nearly 11,000 fish were employed through samples and quality control analysis. While focusing mostly on the 35 PAHs representing a 2,000 data point set, the research group concurrently analyzed its extracts using its 1,201 screening method, which represents the broader mixture of the real environment and a 60,000+ chemical dataset. The research group is successfully demonstrating a combined chemistry and biological high throughput approach with the BRIDGES tools. They are now developing and employing multivariate regression assessment models with these rich datasets.
A significant application of the SRP-developed BRIDGES was employed before, during, and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A significant complementary effort was initiated in 2010 and continued through 2011, utilizing the passive samplers in four Gulf states. The most recent Gulf of Mexico samples were collected in later October 2011; these samples have been analyzed for PAHs, screened for 1,200 environmental contaminants, and processed through the zebrafish model system. The research group is currently processing samples for OPAHs from this sample set. They have used multivariate regression assessments to model potential sources of the PSD extracts, further demonstrating attributes of the BRIDGES approach.