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Your Environment. Your Health.

Bioanalytical Tool Measures Toxicity of Bioavailable Complex Mixtures

Robert Tanguay, Ph.D., Kim Anderson, Ph.D.
Oregon State University
NIEHS Grants P42ES016465, P30ES000210

NIEHS grantees report that a bioanalytical tool, known as Biological Response Indicator Devices Gauging Environmental Stressors (BRIDGES), can detect highly resolved spatial and temporal differences in bioavailable chemicals in the environment and measure the toxicity of these environmental mixtures.

BRIDGES combines passive sampling and an embryonic zebrafish developmental toxicity bioassay to measure of the toxicity of bioavailable complex mixtures. To test the approach, the researchers used passive sampling devices to sequester and concentrate bioavailable organic contaminants in the Willamette and Columbia Rivers within and outside of the Portland Harbor Superfund site in Portland, Ore.

They analyzed extracts from the devices to check for the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds and 1,201 chemicals of concern using deconvolution-reporting software. The researchers then examined the developmental toxicity of the extracts with the embryonic zebrafish bioassay. Using multivariate modeling they linked chemicals with toxic effects and identified the PAH analytes most highly correlated with observed toxicity. The researchers say that the BRIDGES tool could be useful for a wide range of environmental monitoring projects.


Citation: Allan SE, Smith BW, Tanguay RL, Anderson KA. 2012. Bridging environmental mixtures and toxic effects. Environ Toxicol Chem 31(12):2877-2887.

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