Markus Brinkmann


DOI bib
A wastewater-based risk index for SARS-CoV-2 infections among three cities on the Canadian Prairie
Mohsen Asadi, Femi Francis Oloye, Yuwei Xie, Jenna Cantin, Jonathan K. Challis, Kerry N. McPhedran, Warsame Yusuf, David Champredon, Ximing Pu, Chantel De Lange, Seba El-Baroudy, Mark R. Servos, Paul D. Jones, John P. Giesy, Markus Brinkmann
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 876

Wastewater surveillance (WWS) is useful to better understand the spreading of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in communities, which can help design and implement suitable mitigation measures. The main objective of this study was to develop the Wastewater Viral Load Risk Index (WWVLRI) for three Saskatchewan cities to offer a simple metric to interpret WWS. The index was developed by considering relationships between reproduction number, clinical data, daily per capita concentrations of virus particles in wastewater, and weekly viral load change rate. Trends of daily per capita concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater for Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and North Battleford were similar during the pandemic, suggesting that per capita viral load can be useful to quantitatively compare wastewater signals among cities and develop an effective and comprehensible WWVLRI. The effective reproduction number (Rt) and the daily per capita efficiency adjusted viral load thresholds of 85 × 106 and 200 × 106 N2 gene counts (gc)/population day (pd) were determined. These values with rates of change were used to categorize the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks and subsequent declines. The weekly average was considered 'low risk' when the per capita viral load was 85 × 106 N2 gc/pd. A 'medium risk' occurs when the per capita copies were between 85 × 106 and 200 × 106 N2 gc/pd. with a rate of change <100 %. The start of an outbreak is indicated by a 'medium-high' risk classification when the week-over-week rate of change was >100 %, and the absolute magnitude of concentrations of viral particles was >85 × 106 N2 gc/pd. Lastly, a 'high risk' occurs when the viral load exceeds 200 × 106 N2 gc/pd. This methodology provides a valuable resource for decision-makers and health authorities, specifically given the limitation of COVID-19 surveillance based on clinical data.

DOI bib
Wastewater discharges alter microbial community composition in surface waters of the canadian prairies
Milena Esser, Cameron Hoggarth, Helen M. Baulch, Jonathan K. Challis, Yuwei Xie, John P. Giesy, Markus Hecker, Markus Brinkmann
Chemosphere, Volume 334

Microbial communities are an important component of freshwater biodiversity that is threatened by anthropogenic impacts. Wastewater discharges pose a particular concern by being major sources of anthropogenic contaminants and microorganisms that may influence the composition of natural microbial communities. Nevertheless, the effects of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents on microbial communities remain largely unexplored. In this study, the effects of wastewater discharges on microbial communities from five different WWTPs in Southern Saskatchewan were investigated using rRNA gene metabarcoding. In parallel, nutrient levels and the presence of environmentally relevant organic pollutants were analyzed. Higher nutrient loads and pollutant concentrations resulted in significant changes in microbial community composition. The greatest changes were observed in Wascana Creek (Regina), which was found to be heavily polluted by wastewater discharges. Several taxa occurred in greater relative abundance in the wastewater-influenced stream segments, indicating anthropogenic pollution and eutrophication, especially taxa belonging to Proteobacteria, Bacteroidota, and Chlorophyta. Strong decreases were measured within the taxa Ciliphora, Diatomea, Dinoflagellata, Nematozoa, Ochrophyta, Protalveolata, and Rotifera. Across all sample types, a significant decline in sulfur bacteria was measured, implying changes in functional biodiversity. In addition, downstream of the Regina WWTP, an increase in cyanotoxins was detected which was correlated with a significant change in cyanobacterial community composition. Overall, these data suggest a causal relationship between anthropogenic pollution and changes in microbial communities, possibly reflecting an impairment of ecosystem health.

DOI bib
Perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulphonate, an emerging perfluoroalkyl substance, disrupts mitochondrial membranes and the expression of key molecular targets in vitro
Hannah Mahoney, Jenna Cantin, Yuwei Xie, Markus Brinkmann, John P. Giesy
Aquatic Toxicology, Volume 257

Perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulphonate (PFECHS) is an emerging, replacement perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) with little information available on the toxic effects or potencies with which to characterize its potential impacts on aquatic environments. This study aimed to characterize effects of PFECHS using in vitro systems, including rainbow trout liver cells (RTL-W1 cell line) and lymphocytes separated from whole blood. It was determined that exposure to PFECHS caused minor acute toxic effects for most endpoints and that little PFECHS was concentrated into cells with a mean in vitro bioconcentration factor of 81 ± 25 L/kg. However, PFECHS was observed to affect the mitochondrial membrane and key molecular receptors, such as the peroxisome proliferator receptor, cytochrome p450-dependent monooxygenases, and receptors involved in oxidative stress. Also, glutathione-S-transferase was significantly down-regulated at a near environmentally relevant exposure concentration of 400 ng/L. These results are the first to report bioconcentration of PFECHS, as well as its effects on the peroxisome proliferator and glutathione-S-transferase receptors, suggesting that even with little bioconcentration, PFECHS has potential to cause adverse effects.

DOI bib
Acute Exposure of Zebrafish (<i>Danio rerio</i>) to the Next-Generation Perfluoroalkyl Substance, Perfluoroethylcyclohexanesulfonate, Shows Similar Effects as Legacy Substances
Hannah Mahoney, Jenna Cantin, Josephine Rybchuk, Yuwei Xie, John P. Giesy, Markus Brinkmann
Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 57, Issue 10

Perfluoroethylcyclohexanesulfonate (PFECHS) is an emerging perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) that has been considered a potential replacement for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). However, there is little information characterizing the toxic potency of PFECHS to zebrafish embryos and its potential for effects in aquatic environments. This study assessed toxic potency of PFECHS in vivo during both acute (96-hour postfertilization) and chronic (21-day posthatch) exposures and tested concentrations of PFECHS from 500 ng/L to 2 mg/L. PFECHS was less likely to cause mortalities than PFOS for both the acute and chronic experiments based on previously published values for PFOS exposure, but exposure resulted in a similar incidence of deformities. Exposure to PFECHS also resulted in significantly increased abundance of transcripts of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha (pparα), cytochrome p450 1a1 (cyp1a1), and apolipoprotein IV (apoaIV) at concentrations nearing those of environmental relevance. Overall, these results provide further insight into the safety of an emerging PFAS alternative in the aquatic environment and raise awareness that previously considered "safer" alternatives may show similar effects as legacy PFASs.

DOI bib
Understanding common population markers for SARS-CoV-2 RNA normalization in wastewater – A review
Femi Francis Oloye, Yuwei Xie, Jonathan K. Challis, Oluwabunmi P. Femi-Oloye, Markus Brinkmann, Kerry N. McPhedran, Paul D. Jones, Mark R. Servos, John P. Giesy
Chemosphere, Volume 333

Wastewater monitoring and epidemiology have seen renewed interest during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there is an increasing need to normalize wastewater-derived viral loads in local populations. Chemical tracers, both exogenous and endogenous compounds, have proven to be more stable and reliable for normalization than biological indicators. However, differing instrumentation and extraction methods can make it difficult to compare results. This review examines current extraction and quantification methods for ten common population indicators: creatinine, coprostanol, nicotine, cotinine, sucralose, acesulfame, androstenedione 5-hydroindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), caffeine, and 1,7-dimethyluric acid. Some wastewater parameters such as ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and daily flowrate were also evaluated. The analytical methods included direct injection, dilute and shoot, liquid/liquid, and solid phase extraction (SPE). Creatine, acesulfame, nicotine, 5-HIAA and androstenedione have been analysed by direct injection into LC-MS; however, most authors prefer to include SPE steps to avoid matrix effects. Both LC-MS and GC-MS have been successfully used to quantify coprostanol in wastewater, and the other selected indicators have been quantified successfully with LC-MS. Acidification to stabilize the sample before freezing to maintain the integrity of samples has been reported to be beneficial. However, there are arguments both for and against working at acidic pHs. Wastewater parameters mentioned earlier are quick and easy to quantify, but the data does not always represent the human population effectively. A preference for population indicators originating solely from humans is apparent. This review summarises methods employed for chemical indicators in wastewater, provides a basis for choosing an appropriate extraction and analysis method, and highlights the utility of accurate chemical tracer data for wastewater-based epidemiology.

DOI bib
Modelling Transport and Fate of Copper and Nickel across the South Saskatchewan River Using WASP—TOXI
Saurabh Prajapati, Pouya Sabokruhie, Markus Brinkmann, Karl‐Erich Lindenschmidt
Water, Volume 15, Issue 2

The South Saskatchewan River (SSR) is one of the most important river systems in Saskatchewan and, arguably, in Canada. Most of the Saskatchewan residents, industries, and powerplants depend on the SSR for their water requirements. An established 1D modelling approach was chosen and coupled with the Hydrologic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System (HEC-RAS). The WASP (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program) stream transport module, TOXI, is coupled with flow routing for free-flow streams, ponded segments, and backwater reaches and is capable of calculating the flow of water, sediment, and dissolved constituents across branched and ponded segments. Copper and nickel were chosen as two metals with predominantly anthropogenic (agriculture, mining, and municipal and industrial waste management) and geogenic (natural weathering and erosion) sources, respectively. Analysis was carried out at ten different sites along the South Saskatchewan River, both upstream and downstream of the City of Saskatoon, in the years 2020 and 2021. Model performance was evaluated by comparing model predictions with concentrations of copper and nickel measured in a previously published study. The model performed well in estimating the concentrations of copper and nickel in water samples and worked reasonably well for sediment samples. The model underestimated the concentration values at certain segments in both water and sediment samples. In order to calibrate the model more accurately, extra diffusive contaminant loads were added. While several default parameter values had to be used due to the unavailability of primary historical data, our study demonstrates the predictive power of combining WASP—TOXI and HEC-RAS models for the prediction of contaminant loading. Future studies, including those on the impacts of global climate change on water quality on the Canadian prairies, will benefit from this proof-of-concept study.


DOI bib
RNA in Municipal Wastewater Reveals Magnitudes of COVID-19 Outbreaks across Four Waves Driven by SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern
Yuwei Xie, Jonathan K. Challis, Femi Francis Oloye, Mohsen Asadi, Jenna Cantin, Markus Brinkmann, Kerry N. McPhedran, Natacha S. Hogan, Mike Sadowski, Paul D. Jones, Chrystal Landgraff, Chand S. Mangat, Mark R. Servos, John P. Giesy
ACS ES&T Water, Volume 2, Issue 11

There are no standardized protocols for quantifying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in wastewater to date, especially for population normalization. Here, a pipeline was developed, applied, and assessed to quantify SARS-CoV-2 and key variants of concern (VOCs) RNA in wastewater at Saskatoon, Canada. Normalization approaches using recovery ratio and extraction efficiency, wastewater parameters, or population indicators were assessed by comparing to daily numbers of new cases. Viral load was positively correlated with daily new cases reported in the sewershed. Wastewater surveillance (WS) had a lead time of approximately 7 days, which indicated surges in the number of new cases. WS revealed the variant α and δ driving the third and fourth wave, respectively. The adjustment with the recovery ratio and extraction efficiency improved the correlation between viral load and daily new cases. Normalization of viral concentration to concentrations of the artificial sweetener acesulfame K improved the trend of viral load during the Christmas and New Year holidays when populations were dynamic and variable. Acesulfame K performed better than pepper mild mottle virus, creatinine, and ammonia for population normalization. Hence, quality controls to characterize recovery ratios and extraction efficiencies and population normalization with acesulfame are promising for precise WS programs supporting decision-making in public health.

DOI bib
16S rRNA metabarcoding unearths responses of rare gut microbiome of fathead minnows exposed to benzo[a]pyrene
Abigail DeBofsky, Yuwei Xie, Jonathan K. Challis, Phillip J. Ankley, Markus Brinkmann, Paul D. Jones, John P. Giesy
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 807

Activities of gut microbiomes are often overlooked in assessments of ecotoxicological effects of environmental contaminants. Effects of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) on active gut microbiomes of juvenile fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were investigated. Fish were exposed for two weeks, to concentrations of 0, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 μg BaP g-1 in the diet. The active gut microbiome was characterized using 16S rRNA metabarcoding to determine its response to dietary exposure of BaP. BaP reduced alpha-diversity at the greatest exposure concentrations. Additionally, exposure to BaP altered community composition of active microbiome and resulted in differential proportion of taxa associated with hydrocarbon degradation and fish health. Neighborhood selection networks of active microbiomes were not reduced with greater concentrations of BaP, which suggests ecological resistance and/or resilience of gut microbiota. The active gut microbiome had a similar overall biodiversity as that of the genomic gut microbiota, but had a distinct composition from that of the 16S rDNA profile. Responses of alpha- and beta-diversities of the active microbiome to BaP exposure were consistent with that of genomic microbiomes. Normalized activity of microbiome via the ratio of rRNA to rDNA abundance revealed rare taxa that became active or dormant due to exposure to BaP. These differences highlight the need to assess both 16S rDNA and rRNA metabarcoding to fully derive bacterial compositional changes resulting from exposure to contaminants.

DOI bib
Impacts of wastewater effluents and seasonal trends on levels of antipsychotic pharmaceuticals in water and sediments from two cold-region rivers
Ana Sharelys Cardenas Perez, Jonathan K. Challis, Xiaowen Ji, John P. Giesy, Markus Brinkmann
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 851

Most pharmaceuticals are found at trace concentrations in aquatic systems, but their continuous release and potential accumulation can lead to adverse health effects in exposed organisms. Concentrations can vary temporally, driven by variations in discharges of receiving waters, sorption to sediments, and other biotic and abiotic exchange processes. The principal aim of this research was to better understand the occurrence, trends, and dynamics of pharmaceuticals in a cold-climate, riverine environment. To this end, a suite of seven representative antipsychotic pharmaceuticals was measured upstream and downstream of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Saskatchewan, Canada, located in the South Saskatchewan River and Wascana Creek, respectively, across three seasons. Concentrations of analytes were in the ng/L range and generally greater downstream of both WWTPs compared to upstream. Some compounds, including the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline, which was the most abundant analyte in water and sediment from both sites and across seasons, reached low μg/L concentrations. Data collected from this research effort indicate contamination with antipsychotic pharmaceuticals, with the potential to adversely impact exposed organisms.

DOI bib
Next generation per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances: Status and trends, aquatic toxicity, and risk assessment
Hannah Mahoney, Yuwei Xie, Markus Brinkmann, John P. Giesy
Eco-Environment & Health, Volume 1, Issue 2

Widespread application of poly- and per-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has resulted in some substances being ubiquitous in environmental matrices. That and their resistance to degradation have allowed them to accumulate in wildlife and humans with potential for toxic effects. While specific substances of concern have been phased-out or banned, other PFAS that are emerging as alternative substances are still produced and are being released into the environment. This review focuses on describing three emerging, replacement PFAS: perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulphonate (PFECHS), 6:2 chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate (6:2 Cl-PFAES), and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA). By summarizing their physicochemical properties, environmental fate and transport, and toxic potencies in comparison to other PFAS compounds, this review offers insight into the viabilities of these chemicals as replacement substances. Using the chemical scoring and ranking assessment model, the relative hazards, uncertainties, and data gaps for each chemical were quantified and related to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) based on their chemical and uncertainty scores. The substances were ranked PFOS > 6:2 Cl-PFAES > PFOA > HFPO-DA > PFECHS according to their potential toxicity and PFECHS > HFPO-DA > 6:2 Cl-PFAES > PFOS > PFOA according to their need for future research. Since future uses of PFAS remain uncertain in the face of governmental regulations and production bans, replacement PFAS will continue to emerge on the world market and in the environment, raising concerns about their general lack of information on mechanisms and toxic potencies.

DOI bib
Effects of in situ experimental selenium exposure on finescale dace (Phoxinus neogaeus) gut microbiome
Phillip J. Ankley, Stephanie D. Graves, Yuwei Xie, Abigail DeBofsky, Alana Weber, Markus Brinkmann, Vince Palace, Karsten Liber, Markus Hecker, David M. Janz, John P. Giesy
Environmental Research, Volume 212

Selenium (Se) is an environmental contaminant of global concern that can cause adverse effects in fish at elevated levels. Fish gut microbiome play essential roles in gastrointestinal function and host health and can be perturbed by environmental contaminants, including metals and metalloids. Here, an in-situ Se exposure of female finescale dace (Phoxinus neogaeus) using mesocosms was conducted to determine the impacts of Se accumulation on the gut microbiome and morphometric endpoints. Prior to this study, the gut microbiome of finescale dace, a widespread Cyprinid throughout North America, had not been characterized. Exposure to Se caused a hormetic response of alpha diversity of the gut microbiome, with greater diversity at the lesser concentration of 1.6 μg Se/L, relative to that of fish exposed to the greater concentration of 5.6 μg Se/L. Select gut microbiome taxa of fish were differentially abundant between aqueous exposure concentrations and significantly correlated with liver-somatic index (LSI). The potential effects of gut microbiome dysbiosis on condition of wild fish might be a consideration when assessing adverse effects of Se in aquatic environments. More research regarding effects of Se on field-collected fish gut microbiome and the potential adverse effects or benefits on the host is warranted.

DOI bib
Rapid transition between SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern Delta and Omicron detected by monitoring municipal wastewater from three Canadian cities
Femi Francis Oloye, Yuwei Xie, Mohsen Asadi, Jenna Cantin, Jonathan K. Challis, Markus Brinkmann, Kerry N. McPhedran, Kevin Kristian, Mark P. Keller, Mike Sadowski, Paul D. Jones, Chrystal Landgraff, Chand S. Mangat, Meghan Fuzzen, Mark R. Servos, John P. Giesy
Science of The Total Environment, Volume 841

Monitoring the communal incidence of COVID-19 is important for both government and residents of an area to make informed decisions. However, continuous reliance on one means of monitoring might not be accurate because of biases introduced by government policies or behaviours of residents. Wastewater surveillance was employed to monitor concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in raw influent wastewater from wastewater treatment plants serving three Canadian Prairie cities with different population sizes. Data obtained from wastewater are not directly influenced by government regulations or behaviours of individuals. The means of three weekly samples collected using 24 h composite auto-samplers were determined. Viral loads were determined by RT-qPCR, and whole-genome sequencing was used to charaterize variants of concern (VOC). The dominant VOCs in the three cities were the same but with different proportions of sub-lineages. Sub-lineages of Delta were AY.12, AY.25, AY.27 and AY.93 in 2021, while the major sub-lineage of Omicron was BA.1 in January 2022, and BA.2 subsequently became a trace-level sub-variant then the predominant VOC. When each VOC was first detected varied among cities; However, Saskatoon, with the largest population, was always the first to present new VOCs. Viral loads varied among cities, but there was no direct correlation with population size, possibly because of differences in flow regimes. Population is one of the factors that affects trends in onset and development of local outbreaks during the pandemic. This might be due to demography or the fact that larger populations had greater potential for inter- and intra-country migration. Hence, wastewater surveillance data from larger cities can typically be used to indicate what to expect in smaller communities.

DOI bib
Predicting Hepatic Clearance of Psychotropic Drugs in Isolated Perfused Fish Livers Using a Combination of Two <i>In Vitro</i> Assays
Zoey M. Bourgeois, Jordan J Comfort, Matthew Schultz, Jonathan K. Challis, Jenna Cantin, Xiaowen Ji, John P. Giesy, Markus Brinkmann
Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 56, Issue 22

In vitro biotransformation assays with primary trout hepatocytes (RT-HEP) or liver subcellular fractions (RT-S9) have been proposed as valuable tools to help scientists and regulators better understand the toxicokinetics of chemicals. While both assays have been applied successfully to a diversity of neutral organic chemicals, only the RT-S9 assay has been applied to a large number of ionizable organic chemicals. Here, a combination of an in vitro biotransformation assay with RT-HEP with an active transport assay based on the permanent rainbow trout liver cell line RTL-W1 was used to qualitatively predict the potential hepatic clearance of nine psychotropic drugs with various degrees of ionization. Predictions were compared with rates of clearance measured in isolated perfused rainbow trout livers, and the importance of active transport was verified in the presence of the active transport inhibitor cyclosporin A. For the first time, it was demonstrated that a combination of biotransformation and active transport assays is powerful for the prediction of rates of hepatic clearance of ionizable chemicals. Ultimately, it is expected that this approach will allow for use of fewer animals while at the same time improving our confidence in the use of data from in vitro assays in chemical risk assessment.

DOI bib
Exposure to the Tire Rubber-Derived Contaminant 6PPD-Quinone Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction <i>In Vitro</i>
Hannah Mahoney, Francisco C. da Silva, Catherine Roberts, Matthew Schultz, Xiaowen Ji, Alper James Alcaraz, David W. Montgomery, Summer Selinger, Jonathan K. Challis, John P. Giesy, Lynn P. Weber, David M. Janz, Steve Wiseman, Markus Hecker, Markus Brinkmann
Environmental Science & Technology Letters, Volume 9, Issue 9


DOI bib
Responses of juvenile fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) gut microbiome to a chronic dietary exposure of benzo[a]pyrene
Abigail DeBofsky, Yuwei Xie, Jonathan K. Challis, Niteesh Jain, Markus Brinkmann, Paul D. Jones, John P. Giesy
Environmental Pollution, Volume 278

The microbiome has been described as an additional host “organ” with well-established beneficial roles. However, the effects of exposures to chemicals on both structure and function of the gut microbiome of fishes are understudied. To determine effects of benzo[ a ]pyrene (BaP), a model persistent organic pollutant, on structural shifts of gut microbiome in juvenile fathead minnows ( Pimephales promelas ), fish were exposed ad libitum in the diet to concentrations of 1, 10, 100, or 1000 μg BaP g −1 food, in addition to a vehicle control, for two weeks. To determine the link between exposure to BaP and changes in the microbial community, concentrations of metabolites of BaP were measured in fish bile and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was used to evaluate the microbiome. Exposure to BaP only reduced alpha-diversity at the greatest exposure concentrations. However, it did alter community composition assessed as differential abundance of taxa and reduced network complexity of the microbial community in all exposure groups. Results presented here illustrate that environmentally-relevant concentrations of BaP can alter the diversity of the gut microbiome and community network connectivity. Highlights • Dominant phyla of gut microbiome are consistent with those of other freshwater fishes. • BaP metabolites and exposure doses were consistent with those found in contaminated sites. • Dietary BaP exposure has significant, dose-dependent effects on the fish gut microbiome. • Dietary BaP exposure altered association networks of gut microbiome. Environmentally-relevant concentrations of BaP can alter the diversity of the gut microbiome and community network connectivity via dietary exposure route.


DOI bib
Differential responses of gut microbiota of male and female fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) to a short-term environmentally-relevant, aqueous exposure to benzo[a]pyrene
Abigail DeBofsky, Yuwei Xie, Chelsea Grimard, Alper James Alcaraz, Markus Brinkmann, Markus Hecker, John P. Giesy
Chemosphere, Volume 252

In addition to aiding in digestion of food and uptake of nutrients, microbiota in guts of vertebrates are responsible for regulating several beneficial functions, including development of an organism and maintaining homeostasis. However, little is known about effects of exposures to chemicals on structure and function of gut microbiota of fishes. To assess effects of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on gut microbiota, male and female fathead minnows ( Pimephales promelas ) were exposed to environmentally-relevant concentrations of the legacy PAH benzo[ a ]pyrene (BaP) in water. Measured concentrations of BaP ranged from 2.3 × 10 −3 to 1.3 μg L −1 . The community of microbiota in the gut were assessed by use of 16S rRNA metagenetics. Exposure to environmentally-relevant aqueous concentrations of BaP did not alter expression levels of mRNA for cyp1a1 , a “classic” biomarker of exposure to BaP, but resulted in shifts in relative compositions of gut microbiota in females rather than males. Results presented here illustrate that in addition to effects on more well-studied molecular endpoints, relative compositions of the microbiota in guts of fish can also quickly respond to exposure to chemicals, which can provide additional mechanisms for adverse effects on individuals. • Female and male fathead minnows exhibited significantly different gut microbiota. • Exposure to BaP altered structures in female gut microbiota, but not in males. • Exposure to BaP altered predicted functions in gut microbiota of fathead minnow. • Gut microbiome was more sensitive to a low dose BaP than host’s ahr1 and cyp1a1.

DOI bib
Validation of the micro-EROD assay with H4IIE cells for assessing sediment contamination with dioxin-like chemicals
Jacob D. Ouellet, Carolin Gembé, Sebastian Buchinger, Georg Reifferscheid, Henner Hollert, Markus Brinkmann
Environmental Pollution, Volume 265

In vitro bioassays have been used as a bioanalytical means of detecting dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) in environmental matrices and have been suggested as a tool for quantifying DLCs in sediments. The present study evaluated the relationship between bioanalytical results from the micro-7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) bioassay and chemical analytical results in 25 sediment samples collected from rivers across Germany. Sediments were collected, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) were extracted from the sediments, biological toxicity equivalent quotients (BEQs) were determined by micro-EROD assay and toxicity equivalent quotients (TEQs) were calculated from chemical analysis. Correlations between BEQs and TEQs were evaluated, and linear regression modeling was performed, excluding 6 samples as validation data, to derive equations for predicting TEQs from BEQs. Validation data was tested to evaluate predictive capabilities of the models. Correlations were observed between BEQ and TEQ for PCDD/Fs (r=0.987), PCBs (r=0.623), measured sum of PCDD/F and PCBs (r = 0.975) and calculated sum of PCDD/F and PCBs (r = 0.971). The modeling equations provided low variances as evaluated by mean absolute error (MAE) (≤10.3 pg/g) and root mean square error (RMSE) (≤15.8 pg/g) indicating that expected TEQs could be reasonably well calculated from BEQs. Predicted TEQs from validation data fell within the 95% probability intervals of the test data and had low variances (MAE≤6.5 pg/g) and (RMSE≤10.7 pg/g). Our results indicate that the micro-EROD bioassay can be used as a screening tool for DLCs in sediment and has the capability to be used as an alternate method to chemical analysis for quantifying dioxin-like potential of sediments.

DOI bib
New Insights into the Toxicokinetics of 3,4-Dichloroaniline in Early Life Stages of Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Sabrina Schiwy, Ann-Kathrin Herber, Henner Hollert, Markus Brinkmann
Toxics, Volume 8, Issue 1

In the fish embryo toxicity (FET) test with zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos, 3,4-dichloroaniline (3,4-DCA) is often employed as a positive control substance. Previous studies have characterized bioconcentration and transformation of 3,4-DCA in this test under flow-through conditions. However, the dynamic changes of chemical concentrations in exposure media and embryos were not studied systematically under the commonly used semi-static exposure conditions in multiwell plates. To overcome these limitations, we conducted semi-static exposures experiments where embryolarval zebrafish were exposed to 0.5, 2.0, and 4.0 mg L−1 of 3,4-DCA for up to 120 hpf, with 24-h renewal intervals. During each renewal interval, concentrations of 3,4-DCA were quantified in water samples at 0, 6, 18, and 24 h using high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection. Levels of 3,4-DCA in larvae were measured after 120 h exposure. Concentrations of 3,4-DCA in the test vessels decreased rapidly during exposure. Taking these dynamics into account, bioconcentration factors in the present study ranged from 12.9 to 29.8 L kg−1, depending on exposure concentration. In summary, this study contributed to our knowledge of chemical dynamics in the FET test with embryolarval zebrafish, which will aid in defining suitable exposure conditions for future studies.

DOI bib
In vitro-in vivo and cross-life stage extrapolation of uptake and biotransformation of benzo[a]pyrene in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
Chelsea Grimard, Annika Mangold-Döring, Markus Schmitz, Hattan A. Alharbi, Paul D. Jones, John P. Giesy, Markus Hecker, Markus Brinkmann
Aquatic Toxicology, Volume 228

• A concentration dependent increase of B[ a ]P metabolites was observed • No induction of phase I or II activity was observed with increasing B[ a ]P exposure • Biotransformation of B[ a ]P was successfully implemented into in silico models • The models accurately predicted life stage-specific abundances of B[ a ]P metabolites Understanding internal dose metrics is integral to adequately assess effects environmental contaminants might have on aquatic wildlife, including fish. In silico toxicokinetic (TK) models are a leading approach for quantifying internal exposure metrics for fishes; however, they often do not adequately consider chemicals that are actively biotransformed and have not been validated against early-life stages (ELS) that are often considered the most sensitive to the exposure to contaminants. To address these uncertainties, TK models were parameterized for the rapidly biotransformed chemical benzo[ a ]pyrene (B[ a ]P) in embryo-larval and adult life stages of fathead minnows. Biotransformation of B[ a ]P was determined through measurements of in vitro clearance. Using in vitro-in vivo extrapolation, in vitro clearance was integrated into a multi-compartment TK model for adult fish and a one-compartment model for ELS. Model predictions were validated using measurements of B[ a ]P metabolites from in vivo flow-through exposures to graded concentrations of water-borne B[ a ]P. Significantly greater amounts of B[ a ]P metabolites were observed with exposure to greater concentrations of parent compound in both life stages. However, when assessing biotransformation capacity, no differences in phase I or phase II biotransformation were observed with greater exposures to B[ a ]P. Results of modelling suggested that biotransformation of B[ a ]P can be successfully implemented into in silico models to accurately predict life stage-specific abundances of B[ a ]P metabolites in either whole-body larvae or the bile of adult fish. Models developed increase the scope of applications in which TK models can be used to support environmental risk assessments.

DOI bib
Mechanisms of pH-Dependent Uptake of Ionizable Organic Chemicals by Fish from Oil Sands Process-Affected Water (OSPW)
Markus Brinkmann, Hattan A. Alharbi, Ulyana Fuchylo, Steve Wiseman, Garrett Morandi, Hui Peng, John P. Giesy, Paul D. Jones, Markus Hecker
Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 54, Issue 15

Uptake and effects of ionizable organic chemicals (IOCs) that are weak acids in aqueous solution by fish can differ as a function of pH. While the pH-dependent behavior of select IOCs is well-understood, complex mixtures of IOCs, e.g., from oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), have not yet been studied systematically. Here, we established an in vitro screening method using the rainbow trout gill cell line, RTgill-W1, to investigate pH-dependent cytotoxicity and permeation of IOCs across cultured epithelia using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-HRMS). The assay was benchmarked using model chemicals and technical mixtures, and then used to characterize fractions and reconstituted extracts of field-collected OSPW. Significant pH-dependent cytotoxicity of individual IOCs, acidic fractions, and reconstituted extracts of OSPW was observed. In vitro data were in good agreement with data from a 96 h in vivo exposure experiment with juvenile rainbow trout. Permeation of some IOCs from OSPW was mediated by active transport, as revealed by studies in which inhibitors of these active transport mechanisms were applied. We conclude that the RTgill-W1 in vitro assay is useful for the screening of pH-dependent uptake of IOCs in fish, and has applications for in vitro-in vivo extrapolation, and prioritization of chemicals in nontarget screenings.