Modeling the changes in the concentration of aromatic hydrocarbons from an oil-coated gravel column

Jee Hyun Jung, Hyun Joong Kang, Moonkoo Kim, Un Hyuk Yim, Joon Geon An, Won Joon Shim, Jung-Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of a lab-scale flow-through exposure system designed for the evaluation of ecotoxicity due to oil spills was evaluated. The system simulates a spill event using an oil-coated gravel column through which filtered seawater is passed and flows into an aquarium containing fish embryos of olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) and spotted sea bass (Lateolabrax maculates). The dissolved concentrations of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the column effluent were monitored and compared with theoretical solubilities predicted by Raoult’s law. The effluent concentrations after 24 and 48 h were close to the theoretical predictions for the higher molecular weight PAHs, whereas the measured values for the lower molecular weight PAHs were lower than predicted. The ratios of the concentration of PAHs in flounder embryos to that in seawater were close to the lipid-water partition coefficients for the less hydrophobic PAHs, showing that equilibrium was attained between embryos and water. On the other hand, 48 h were insufficient to attain phase equilibrium for the more hydrophobic PAHs, indicating that the concentration in fish embryos may be lower than expected by equilibrium assumption. The results indicate that the equilibrium approach may be suitable for less hydrophobic PAHs, whereas it might overestimate the effects of more hydrophobic PAHs after oil spills because phase equilibrium in an oil-seawater-biota system is unlikely to be achieved. The ecotoxicological endpoints that were affected within a few days are likely to be influenced mainly by moderately hydrophobic components such as 3-ring PAHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalOcean Science Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1


  • bioconcentration
  • embryo
  • environmental exposure
  • oil spill
  • Raoult’s law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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