Assessment of sediment toxicity using different trophic organisms

Y. H. CHEUNG, A. NELLER, K. H. CHU, N. F. Y. TAM, C. K. WONG, Y. S. WONG, Ming Hung WONG

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The main aim of the present project is to study the feasibility of using different trophic organisms for evaluating the toxicity of dredged sediments arising in Hong Kong. A total of eight sediment samples (duplicate samples collected from four selected sites: Kowloon Bay, Tsing Yi, Chek Lap Kok, and Double Haven) of Hong Kong coastal waters were analyzed for the total concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn, total organic carbon, acid volatile sulfides, simultaneously extracted metals, redox potential, and 12 organic micropollutants. The sediment elutriates were also analysed for the various metal concentrations, as well as contents of ammonia-N, nitrate, total sulfide, sulfate, and total organic carbon. Elutriate Sediment Toxicity Tests (ESTT) were also conducted, using two microalgae (Skeletonema costatum, a diatom and Dunaliella tertiolecta, a flagellate), juvenile shrimp (Metapenaeus ensis) and juvenile fish (Trachinotus obtaus). Two commercially available tests using bacteria (Microtox Test and Toxi-Chromotest) also were employed to test both the solid phase and elutriates of the sediments. The results of Microtox test on the solid phase, and bioassay tests using diatom on the sediment elutriate, especially the former, were correlated significantly (p < 0.05) with a number of physico-chemical properties of sediments and elutriates. It is recommended that a combination of a liquid- phase bioassay using diatom and a solid-phase bioassay using Microtox test should be used for screening a large number of sediment samples. However, the presence of ammonia in the sediments containing a high content of organic matter seemed to interfere the detection of contamination impacts. Copyright © 1997 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-267
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997


Cheung, Y. H., Neller, A., Chu, K. H., Tam, N. F. Y., Wong, C. K., Wong, Y. S., & Wong, M. H. (1997). Assessment of sediment toxicity using different trophic organisms. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 32(3), 260-267. doi: 10.1007/s002449900183


  • Sulfide
  • Total organic carbon
  • Microalgae
  • Sediment sample
  • Dunaliella


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