Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Environmental Technology & Innovation
Conventional PAH analytical methods are time-consuming and expensive, limiting their utility in time sensitive events (i.e. oil spills and floods) or for widespread environmental monitoring. Unreliable and inefficient screening methods intended to prioritize samples for more extensive analyses exacerbate the issue. Antibody-based biosensor technology was implemented as a quantitative screening method to measure total PAH concentration in adult oysters (Crassostrea virginica) — a well-known bioindicator species with ecological and commercial significance. Individual oysters were analyzed throughout the historically polluted Elizabeth River watershed (Virginia, USA). Significant positive association was observed between biosensor and GC–MS measurements that persisted when the method was calibrated for different regulatory subsets of PAHs. Mapping of PAH concentrations in oysters throughout the watershed demonstrates the utility of this technology for environmental monitoring. Through a novel extension of equilibrium partitioning, biosensor technology shows promise as a cost-effective analysis to rapidly predict whole animal exposure to better assess human health risk as well as improve monitoring efforts.
Biosensor, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), Equilibrium partitioning, Oil spill response, Seafood safety
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Prossner, Kristen M.; Vadas, George G.; Harvey, Ellen; and Unger, Michael A., A novel antibody-based biosensor method for the rapid measurement of PAH contamination in oysters (2022). Environmental Technology & Innovation, 28, 102567.