Assessment of phenanthrene bioavailability in aged and unaged soils by mild extraction

Muhammad Imran Khan, Sardar Alam Cheema, Chaofeng Shen, Congkai Zhang, Xianjin Tang, Jiyan Shi, Xincai Chen, Joonhong Park, Yingxu Chen

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43 Citations (Scopus)


It has become apparent that the threat of an organic pollutant in soil is directly related to its bioavailable fraction and that the use of total contaminant concentrations as a measure of potential contaminant exposure to plants or soil organisms is inappropriate. In light of this, non-exhaustive extraction techniques are being investigated to assess their appropriateness in determining bioavailability. To find a suitable and rapid extraction method to predict phenanthrene bioavailability, multiple extraction techniques (i.e., mild hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD) and organic solvents extraction) were investigated in soil spiked to a range of phenanthrene levels (i.e., 1.12, 8.52, 73, 136, and 335 μg g- 1 dry soil). The bioaccumulation of phenanthrene in earthworm (Eisenia fetida) was used as the reference system for bioavailability. Correlation results for phenanthrene suggested that mild HPCD extraction was a better method to predict bioavailability of phenanthrene in soil compared with organic solvents extraction. Aged (i.e., 150 days) and fresh (i.e., 0 day) soil samples were used to evaluate the extraction efficiency and the effect of soil contact time on the availability of phenanthrene. The percentage of phenanthrene accumulated by earthworms and percent recoveries by mild extractants changed significantly with aging time. Thus, aging significantly reduced the earthworm uptake and chemical extractability of phenanthrene. In general, among organic extractants, methanol showed recoveries comparable to those of mild HPCD for both aged and unaged soil matrices. Hence, this extractant can be suitable after HPCD to evaluate risk of contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by Science and Technology Foundation of Zhejiang Province, China (2009C13003), National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2009AA063104), and program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University of China (IRT0536). The authors would like to specially acknowledge all members in our group for their great assistance and cooperation during the research and manuscript writing.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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