Previous studies have shown that infaunal deposit feeders may enhance the loss of organic contaminants from sediments. However, the extent to which this occurs as a result of sediment microbial stimulation, porewater flushing, or biotransformation by infauna remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the infaunal polychaete Capitella sp. I is able to metabolize the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) fluoranthene and to provide an initial characterization of the metabolites produced. Our results showed that Capitella sp. I is able to metabolize fluoranthene to more hydrophilic products and that, after 24 h in clean sediment, fluoranthene could no longer be detected in worm tissues whereas a number of fluoranthene-derived metabolites were present. None of the metabolites released or retained by worms resembled known bacterial metabolites, suggesting that Capitella, and not bacteria associated with its gut or body surface, were responsible for the biotransformation of fluoranthene in our system. On the basis of ultraviolet maxima, peak shape, relative height, and order of elution, tentative identities of two metabolites (i.e., 3- and 8-hydroxyfluoranthene) are proposed. The results demonstrate that, in addition to their effects on sediment geochemical properties, infaunal polychaetes such as Capitella can enhance the degradation of sediment-associated contaminants by directly metabolizing them.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2001|
- Contaminant fate
- Cytochrome P450