Recreating the seawater mixture composition of HOCs in toxicity tests with Artemia franciscana by passive dosing

E. Rojo-Nieto, K.E.C. Smith, J.A. Perales, Philipp Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The toxicity testing of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in aquatic media is generally challenging, and this is even more problematic for mixtures. The hydrophobic properties of these compounds make them difficult to dissolve, and subsequently to maintain constant exposure concentrations. Evaporative and sorptive losses are highly compound-specific, which can alter not only total concentrations, but also, the proportions between the compounds in the mixture. Therefore, the general aim of this study was to explore the potential of passive dosing for testing the toxicity of a PAH mixture that recreates the mixture composition found in seawater from a coastal area of Spain, the Bay of Algeciras. First, solvent spiking and passive dosing were compared for their suitability to determine the acute toxicity to Artemia franciscana nauplii of several PAHs at their respective solubility limits. Second, passive dosing was applied to recreate the seawater mixture composition of PAHs measured in a Spanish monitoring program, to test the toxicity of this mixture at different levels. HPLC analysis was used to confirm the reproducibility of the dissolved exposure concentrations for the individual PAHs and mixtures. This study shows that passive dosing has some important benefits in comparison with solvent spiking for testing HOCs in aquatic media. These include maintaining constant exposure concentrations, leading to higher reproducibility and a relative increase in toxicity. Passive dosing is also able to faithfully reproduce real mixtures of HOCs such as PAHs, in toxicity tests, reproducing both the levels and proportions of the different compounds. This provides a useful approach for studying the toxicity of environmental mixtures of HOCs, both with a view to investigating their toxicity but also for determining safety factors before such mixtures result in detrimental effects. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Pages (from-to)27-34
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Passive dosing
  • PAH toxicity
  • Anemia franciscana
  • Seawater
  • Mixtures
  • Chemical activity


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