If you are an ASTM Compass Subscriber and this document is part of your subscription, you can access it for free at ASTM Compass
    ASTM E1688 - 19

    Standard Guide for Determination of the Bioaccumulation of Sediment-Associated Contaminants by Benthic Invertebrates

    Active Standard ASTM E1688 | Developed by Subcommittee: E50.47

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.06

      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 65 $91.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 65 $91.00   ADD TO CART
    Standard + Redline PDF Bundle 130 $108.00   ADD TO CART

    Significance and Use

    5.1 Sediment exposure evaluations are a critical component for both ecological and human health risk assessments. Credible, cost-effective methods are required to determine the rate and extent of bioaccumulation given the potential importance of bioaccumulation by benthic organisms. Standardized test methods to assess the bioavailability of sediment-associated contaminants are required to assist in the development of sediment quality guidelines (1, 2, 3)5 and to assess the potential impacts of disposal of dredge materials (4).

    5.2 The extent to which sediment-associated contaminants are biologically available and bioaccumulated is important in order to assess their direct effects on sediment-dwelling organisms and assess their transport to higher trophic levels. Controlled studies are required to determine the potential for bioaccumulation that can be interpreted and modeled for predicting the impact of accumulated chemicals. The data collected by these methods should be correlated with the current understanding of toxicity or human health risks to augment the hazard interpretation for contaminated sediments.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers procedures for measuring the bioaccumulation of sediment-associated contaminants by infaunal invertebrates. Marine, estuarine, and freshwater sediments are a major sink for chemicals that sorb preferentially to particles, such as organic compounds with high octanol-water-partitioning coefficients (Kow) (for example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)) and many metals. The accumulation of chemicals into whole or bedded sediments (that is, consolidated rather than suspended sediments) reduces their direct bioavailability to pelagic organisms but increases the exposure of benthic organisms. Feeding of pelagic organisms on benthic prey can reintroduce sediment-associated contaminants into pelagic food webs. The bioaccumulation of sediment-associated contaminants by sediment-dwelling organisms can therefore result in ecological impacts on benthic and pelagic communities and human health from the consumption of contaminated shellfish or pelagic fish.

    1.2 Methods of measuring bioaccumulation by infaunal organisms from marine, estuarine, and freshwater sediments containing organic or metal contaminates will be discussed. The procedures are designed to generate quantitative estimates of steady-state tissue residues because data from bioaccumulation tests are often used in ecological or human health risk assessments. Eighty percent of steady-state is used as the general criterion. Because the results from a single or few species are often extrapolated to other species, the procedures are designed to maximize exposure to sediment-associated contaminants so that residues in untested species are not underestimated systematically. A 28-day exposure with sediment-ingesting invertebrates and no supplemental food is recommended as the standard single sampling procedure. Procedures for long-term and kinetic tests are provided for use when 80 % of steady-state will not be obtained within 28 days or when more precise estimates of steady-state tissue residues are required. The procedures are adaptable to shorter exposures and different feeding types. Exposures shorter than 28 days may be used to identify which compounds are bioavailable (that is, bioaccumulation potential) or for testing species that do not live for 28 days in the sediment (for example, certain Chironomus). Non-sediment-ingestors or species requiring supplementary food may be used if the goal is to determine uptake in these particular species because of their importance in ecological or human health risk assessments. However, the results from such species should not be extrapolated to other species.

    1.3 Standard test methods are still under development, and much of this guide is based on techniques used in successful studies and expert opinion rather than experimental comparisons of different techniques. Also, relatively few marine/estuarine (for example, Nereis and Macoma), freshwater (for example, Diporeia and Lumbriculus variegatus) species, and primarily neutral organic compounds provide a substantial portion of the basis for the guide. Nonetheless, sufficient progress has been made in conducting experiments and understanding the factors regulating sediment bioavailability to establish general guidelines for sediment bioaccumulation tests.

    1.4 This guide is arranged as follows:





    Referenced Documents






    Summary of Guide



    Significance and Use









    Safety Precautions



    Overlying Water






    Test Organisms



    Experimental Design






    Analytical Methodology



    Data Analysis and Interpretation









    Additional Methods for Predicting Bioaccumulation

    Annex A1


    Determining the Number of Replicates

    Annex A2


    Adequacy of 10-Day and 28-Day Exposures

    Annex A3


    Alternative Test Designs

    Annex A4


    Calculation of Time to Steady-State

    Annex A5


    Special Purpose Exposure Chambers

    Annex A6


    Additional Techniques to Correct for Gut Sediment

    Annex A7


    Guidance For Conducting Sediment Bioaccumulation Tests with the Oligochaete Lumbriculus Variegatus

    Annex A8




    1.5 Field-collected sediments may contain toxic materials, including pathogens, and should be treated with caution to minimize exposure to workers. Worker safety must also be considered when using laboratory-dosed sediments containing toxic compounds.

    1.6 This guide may involve the use of non-indigenous test species. The accidental establishment of non-indigenous species has resulted in substantial harm to both estuarine and freshwater ecosystems. Adequate precautions must therefore be taken against the accidental release of any non-indigenous test species or associated flora or fauna.

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific precautionary statements are given in Section 8.

    1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D4387 Guide for Selecting Grab Sampling Devices for Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates

    E729 Guide for Conducting Acute Toxicity Tests on Test Materials with Fishes, Macroinvertebrates, and Amphibians

    E943 Terminology Relating to Biological Effects and Environmental Fate

    E1022 Guide for Conducting Bioconcentration Tests with Fishes and Saltwater Bivalve Mollusks

    E1241 Guide for Conducting Early Life-Stage Toxicity Tests with Fishes

    E1367 Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Estuarine and Marine Invertebrates

    E1383 Guide for Conducting Sediment Toxicity Tests with Freshwater Invertebrates

    E1391 Guide for Collection, Storage, Characterization, and Manipulation of Sediments for Toxicological Testing and for Selection of Samplers Used to Collect Benthic Invertebrates

    E1525 Guide for Designing Biological Tests with Sediments

    E1706 Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Freshwater Invertebrates

    Federal Documents

    CFR, Title 21,

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.30 (Biological properties of soil)

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/E1688-19

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1688-19, Standard Guide for Determination of the Bioaccumulation of Sediment-Associated Contaminants by Benthic Invertebrates, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org

    Back to Top