John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effect‐directed analysis of Elizabeth river pore water: Developmental toxicity in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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In the present study, we used effect‐directed analysis (EDA) to identify teratogenic compounds in pore water collected from a Superfund site along the Elizabeth River (ER) estuary (Virginia, USA). Zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to the pore water show acute developmental toxicity and cardiac teratogenesis, presumably due to elevated sediment levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from historical creosote use. Pre‐treatment of pore waters with several physical and chemical particle removal methods revealed that colloid‐bound chemicals constituted the bulk of observed toxicity. Proceeding toxicity assessments, size‐exclusion chromatography and normal‐phase high performance liquid chromatography were used to fractionate ER pore water. Acute toxicity of pore water extracts and extract fractionates was assessed as the pericardial area in embryonic zebrafish. The most toxic fraction contained several known aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists (e.g., 1,2‐benzofluorene and 1,2‐benzanthracene) and cytochrome P450 A1 (CPY1A) inhibitors (e.g., dibenzothiophene and fluoranthene). The second most toxic fraction contained known AhR agonists (e.g., benzo[a]pyrene and indeno[1,2,3‐cd]pyrene). Addition of a CYP1A inhibitor, fluoranthene, increased toxicity in all active pore water fractions, suggesting synergism between several contaminants present in pore waters. Results indicate that the observed acute toxicity associated with ER pore water results from high concentrations of AhR agonistic PAHs and mixture effects related to interactions between compounds co‐occurring at the ER site. However, even after extensive fractionation and chemical characterization, it remains plausible that some active compounds in ER pore water remain unidentified. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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