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University of Albany - SUNY

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Superfund Research Program

A Combined Bioassay-Chemical Fractionation Scheme for the Determination of Toxic Chemicals in Sediments from the St. Lawrence River

Project Leader: Patrick W. O'Keefe (Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health)
Grant Number: P42ES004913
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

Project-Specific Links

Project Summary (1995-2000)

The major objective of this project is to determine the complete range of toxic compounds found in sediment recovered from the St. Lawrence River using bioassays in conjunction with chemical fraction. This approach, termed bioassay-directed chemical analysis can greatly simplify the identification of toxic compounds in complex environmental samples. This technology may help to determine the toxic agents present in sediments collected near an aluminum plant in the Massena area of the St. Lawrence River that are lethal to larvae of the aquatic insect, Chironomus tentans. The task is accomplished by a series of extraction, fractionation and bioassay steps that aid in the isolation of the unknown toxic agents. Fractions showing an increase or decrease in toxicity relative to the extract from which they were derived are analyzed for toxic compounds using state of the art instruments such as high and low resolution mass spectrometers and Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy. In the final phase the bioaccumulation and/or metabolism of the toxic compounds are determined by exposing fish to the sediment in the laboratory.

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