SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2000

Passive Sampling Devices (PSDs) as Biological Surrogates for Estimating the Bioavailability of Organic Chemicals in Soil


Organic chemical exposure in soil toxicity tests and in ecological risk assessment of terrestrial systems is usually expressed as the total chemical measured. Possible alternatives to total chemical measures of organic chemical bioavailability and exposure include body residues in test organisms, soil extraction with selective solvents, and passive sampling devices (PSDs) as biological surrogates. Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) offer potential as a biological surrogate in soil systems. Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers are a rapid and sensitive means for detecting PAHs in soil and have the advantage of not requiring solvent extraction of soil. The objective of this study was to compare chemical uptake and residues in earthworms, SPMDs, and SPMEs exposed in artificial soil spiked with phenanthrene (PHE). Bioavailable PHE, as assessed by mortality and PHE body residues, varied dramatically with soil organic matter content. Both SPMEs and SPMDs could discriminate differences in PHE availability between treatments. However, PHE levels measured using SPMEs were more precise and allowed discrimination between toxic and non-toxic levels of PHE, while PHE levels in SPMDs were too variable for use as a predictive tool.

Author Information

Wells, JB
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Lanno, RP
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 253–270
DOI: 10.1520/STP10259S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5448-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2886-6