K. Bundy, D. Berzins, and L. Millet, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 70118, Phone: 504-865-5897, FAX: 504-862-8779

ABSTRACT Developing valid pollution recording methods is central to assessing environmental damage and remediation. This often is difficult, however, because of speciation and multiphase distribution of contaminants. Polarography, an electroanalytical technique capable of detection and quantification of trace levels of elements and ionic complexes, is a promising method for analyzing environmental samples. Here, polarography has been used to determine lead concentration in water, sediment, bullfrogs, tadpoles, and adsorbed onto kaolin. It has also been used to measure hexavalent chromium concentration in crayfish. This research involves field studies and two laboratory experiments. Studies of a Louisiana swamp have shown lead's affinity for sediment and water particulate phases, rather than being ionically dissolved in the aqueous phase. In swamp bullfrogs, lead was found in greater concentrations in bone compared to muscle. In the first laboratory experiment, lead uptake originating from water and sediment increased in tadpoles as exposure time and concentration increased. Also, this animal's development was hindered at higher concentrations. The second laboratory experiment exposed crayfish to aqueous hexavalent chromium. Total chromium uptake increased with exposure time and concentration. The chromium tissue abundance was hepatopancreas > gills > muscle. A substantial portion of tissue hexavalent chromium converted to the less toxic trivalent form.

KEYWORDS: speciation, polarography, chromium, lead, crayfish

This paper is from the Proceedings of the HSRC/WERC Joint Conference on the Environment, May 1996, published in hard copy and on the Web by the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center.

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