Bioaccessibility of AhR-active PAHs in sediments contaminated by the Hebei Spirit oil spill: Application of Tenax extraction in effect-directed analysis

Seongjin Hong, Un Hyuk Yim, Sung Yong Ha, Won Joon Shim, Seungyeon Jeon, Sangwoo Lee, Cheolmin Kim, Kyungho Choi, Jinho Jung, John P. Giesy, Jong Seong Khim

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Bioaccessibility of toxic substances in sedimentary residual oil is a crucial factor that needs to be considered for accurate risk assessments posed by oil spills. However, information on oil weathering processes and bioaccessibility of residual oil is often not sufficient and clear. In the present study, bioaccessibility of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-active polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in coastal sediments near the site of the Hebei Spirit oil spill (Korea, 2007) was assessed by Tenax extraction in effect-directed analysis (EDA). Sediment samples collected 6 years after the oil spill were extracted using Soxhlet or Tenax, and EDA was performed using a battery of H4IIE-luc bioassay and GC/MSD analysis. Concentrations of PAHs and alkyl-PAHs in Soxhlet extracts ranged from 210 to 53,000 μg kg-1 dry mass. However, concentrations of PAHs and alkyl-PAHs in Tenax extracts were approximately 20-fold less compared to those in Soxhlet extracts. In Soxhlet and Tenax extracts, the major AhR-active PAHs were identified as C1-chrysene, C3-chrysene, and C4-phenanthrene. Concentrations of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) equivalents (TEQPAHs) explained 31% and 60% of the bioassay-derived TCDD-EQ concentrations in Soxhlet and Tenax extracts, respectively. Overall, bioaccessibility of PAHs and alkyl-PAHs in sedimentary residual oils depended on hydrophobicity (log Kow) and degree of weathering of crude oil. The results of the present study provide further evidence in support of the biological and ecological recoveries of oil spill sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-712
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1



  • GC/MSD
  • H4IIE-luc bioassay
  • Potency balance
  • Sediment
  • Toxicity equivalents
  • Yellow sea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

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