U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in Environ Toxicol (2007) 22: 1–8. DOI 10.1002/tox.20227


The potential ecological impacts of anaerobic degradation of vegetable oil on freshwater sediments were investigated. Sediment toxicity was evaluated using two regulatory biotests: the Microtox® Solid Phase Test and an amphipod (Hyalella azteca) bioassay. The results of the Microtox test showed that the toxicity of the vegetable-oil-contaminated sediments (about 17–33 g oil/kg dry sediments) increased after 2 weeks incubation and then decreased to near background levels after incubation for 8 weeks under anaerobic conditions. The amphipod toxicity bioassay showed that the toxicity of fresh contaminated sediments decreased over time and returned to background levels within 8 weeks. These results suggest that the impact of vegetable oils on organisms within sediments may be limited. To account for the significance of environmental conditions, additional studies over a wide range of incubation conditions (e.g., temperature, nutrient concentration) and other test organisms at various trophic levels are recommended for both acute and chronic toxicity assessment.