Aquatic macroinvertebrate community responses to pollution of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) : can we define threshold body burdens?
The pollution of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in aquatic environments is a worldwide concern of which the ecological impact is still not well understood. Especially field-based effect studies in aquatic ecosystems are generally lacking, creating a knowledge gap that goes along with monitoring and regulatory challenges. Therefore, this study examined if bioaccumulated PFAS concentrations could be related to ecological responses assessed by changes in the macroinvertebrate community structure. In addition, threshold body burdens that are protective of ecological damage were estimated. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled in 30 streams across Flanders (Belgium) and 28 PFAS target analytes were measured in three resident taxa (Gammarus sp., Asellus sp. and Chironomus sp.) and translocated zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). The macroinvertebrate community structure was assessed by calculating the Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index Flanders (MMIF). Primarily long-chain perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) were detected in both resident taxa (passive biomonitoring) and zebra mussels (active biomonitoring). Based on a 90th quantile regression model, safe threshold body burdens could be calculated for PFTeDA (7.1 ng/g ww) and ΣPFAS (2264 ng/g ww) in Gammarus sp. and for PFOA (5.5 ng/g ww), PFDoDA (1.7 ng/g ww), PFTrDA (0.51 ng/g ww), PFTeDA (2.4 ng/g ww), PFOS (644 ng/g ww) and ΣPFAS (133 ng/g ww) in zebra mussel. An additional threshold value was calculated for most compounds and species using the 95th percentile method. However, although these estimated thresholds are pertinent and indicative, regulatory applicability requires further lines of evidence and validation. Nevertheless, this study offers first-time evidence of associations between accumulated PFAS concentrations in invertebrates and a reduced ecological water quality in terms of macroinvertebrate community structure and highlights the potential of Gammarus sp. and zebra mussels to serve as reliable PFAS biomonitoring species.
Source (journal)
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam, 1972, currens
Amsterdam : 2024
0048-9697 [print]
1879-1026 [online]
917 (2024) , p. 1-12
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Project info
AnaEE-Flanders: Integrated infrastructure for experimental ecosystem research.
Are internal concentrations of micro pollutants in aquatic organisms predictive of the ecological quality of water courses?
Influence of soil properties on the sorption of per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances to soil and the bioavailability and bioaccumulation to terrestrial biota.
Effects of the chemical structure of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the bioaccumulation and toxicity to terrestrial and aquatic plants and invertebrates.
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 06.02.2024
Last edited 10.06.2024
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