Analysis of PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs in atmospheric deposition samples from the Flemish measurement network: Optimization and validation of a new CALUX bioassay method

K. Croes, K. Van Langenhove, M. Elskens, M. Desmedt, E. Roekens, A. Kotz, M. S. Denison, W. Baeyens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Since the CALUX (Chemically Activated LUciferase gene eXpression) bioassay is a fast, sensitive and inexpensive tool for the analysis of a high number of samples, validation of new methods is urgently needed. In this study, a new method for the analysis of PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs in atmospheric deposition samples with the CALUX bioassay was developed, optimized and validated. The method consists of 4 steps: filtration, extraction, clean up and bioassay analysis. To avoid the use of large amounts of toxic solvents, new techniques were used for filtration and extraction: a C18 filter was used instead of a liquid/liquid extraction and an Accelerated Solvent Extractor (ASE) was used instead of the traditional soxhlet extraction. After pre-oxidation of the sample extract, clean up was done using a multi-layer silica gel column coupled to a carbon column. The PCDD/F and PCB fractions were finally analyzed with the H1L7.5c1 and/or the H1L6.1c3 mouse hepatoma cell lines. The limit of quantification was 1.4pg CALUX-BEQm-2d-1 for the PCBs and 5.6pgCALUX-BEQm-2d-1 for the PCDD/Fs, when using the new sensitive H1L7.5c1 cell line. The GC-HRMS recovery for all PCDD/F congeners was between 55% and 112%, with a mean recovery of 90%. CALUX recoveries of spiked procedural blanks were between the accepted ranges of 80-120%. Repeatability and reproducibility were satisfactory and no interferences from metals were detected. The first results from the Flemish measurement program showed good correlation between CALUX and GC-HRMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-724
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 2011



  • Atmospheric depositions
  • Dioxine-like PCBs
  • PCDD/Fs
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this