Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2022_IN_Sepulveda

PFAS Precursor Bioaccumulation and Biotransformation in Agriculturally Impacted Wetland Food Webs

Institute: Indiana
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2022 Start Date: 2023-01-01 End Date: 2025-12-31
Total Federal Funds: $243,721 Total Non-Federal Funds: $243,776

Principal Investigators: Maria Sepulveda

Abstract: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widespread environmental contaminants. They concentrate in municipal biosolids, which are then spread on agricultural fields contaminating wetlands. Some PFAS (referred to as precursors) can be biotransformed by bacteria and multicellular organisms (like fish) to usually, smaller, and more easily excretable metabolites. However, there is little understanding on the transformation of PFAS precursors in fish and other aquatic biota. In addition, impacts of PFAS precursors to aquatic communities inhabiting these wetlands has not been explored. This is a critical need as PFAS metabolites resulting from biotransformation of precursors can be more bioaccumulative and toxic than terminal products. The central objective of our work is to study the in vivo transformation and ecological effects of PFAS precursors in wetlands. We will combine field and mesocosm studies to address key questions related to PFAS transformation as well as ecological effects on aquatic communities.