Relation between different metal pollution criteria in sediments and its contribution on assessing toxicity

Cristina M. Alves, Carlos M. H. Ferreira, Helena M.V.M. Soares*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Several tools have been developed and applied to evaluate the metal pollution status of sediments and predict their potential ecological risk assessment. To date, a comprehensive relationship between the information given by these sediment tools for predicting metal bioavailability and the effective toxicity observed is lacking. In this work, the possible inter-correlations between the data outcoming from using several qualitative evaluation tools of the sediment contamination (contamination factor, CF, the enrichment factor, EF, or the geoaccumulation index, Igeo), metal speciation on sediments (evaluated by the modified BCR sequential extraction procedure) and free metal concentrations in pore waters were studied. It was also our aim to evaluate if these assessment tools could be used for predicting the pore waters toxicity data as toxicity proxy. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis revealed that two quality indices used (CF and EF) were highly correlatable with the more labile fractions from BCR sediment speciation. However, neither of these parameters did correlate with the toxicity of pore waters measured by the chronic toxicity (72 h) in Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata. In contrast, the toxic effects of the given total metal load in sediments were better evaluated by using an additive metal approach using pore water free metal concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BCR sequential extraction
  • Contamination factor
  • Enrichment factor
  • Geoaccumulation index
  • Toxicity of pore waters


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