Application of the Human Reporter Gene System Biomarker for Assessing Sediment Quality in Sabine Lake and Galveston Bay




Anderson, Jack W. Ph.D., M. J. Hameedi

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Galveston Bay Estuary Program


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has used the Human Reporter Gene System (HRGS) biomarker as one of the means to assess the spatial extent and severity of sediment contamination in coastal waters and estuaries throughout the United States. The biomarker indicates the presence of organic chemicals that bind to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and induce the cytochrome P450 1A1 locus on the vertebrate chromosome. Several of these chemicals are known to cause direct chemical toxicity or genotoxicity, such as planar PCBs, higher molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans..... In recent years, the test was used to assess sediment toxicity in Sabine Lake (1995) and Galveston Bay (1996). Using stratified-random sampling scheme, test samples were collected from 66 sites in Sabine Lake and 75 sites in Galveston Bay, encompassing an area of 246 sq. km and 1,351 sq. km, respectively.....These data suggest that source control of industrial and municipal and waste discharges has been effective in improving or maintaining sediment quality in these waterbodies.


pg. 189


water quality, habitat, ecology, watershed management, human reporter gene system, noaa, sediment contamination, coastal waters, organic chemicals, aryl hydrocarbon receptor, cytochrome, pcb, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, sediment toxicity, sabine lake, galveston bay, neches river, sabine neches canal, houston ship channel, estuarine, infaunal communities, toxicologically significant, polychlorinated biphenyls, industrial, municipal, waste discharges