Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1186/s12302-020-00392-9
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Multi-compartment chemical characterization and risk assessment of chemicals of emerging concern in freshwater systems of western Kenya
Author Kandie, F.J.; Krauss, M. ORCID logo ; Massei, R.; Ganatra, A.A.; Fillinger, U.; Becker, J.M.; Liess, M.; Torto, B.; Brack, W.
Source Titel Environmental Sciences Europe
Year 2020
Department WANA; OEKOTOX
Volume 32
Page From art. 115
Language englisch
Keywords Biota; Chemicals of emerging concern; Surface water; Sediment; Toxic units; Risk assessment; Occurrence; western Kenya


Within the last decades, there has been increasing research on the occurrence of chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) in aquatic ecosystems due to their potential adverse effects on freshwater organisms and risk to human health. However, information on CECs in freshwater environments in sub-Saharan countries is very limited. Here, we investigated the occurrence of CECs in snails and sediments collected from 48 sites within the Lake Victoria South Basin, Kenya, which have been previously investigated for water contamination. Samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) with a target list of 429 compounds.


In total, 30 compounds have been detected in snails and 78 in sediment samples, compared to 79 previously identified compounds in water. By extending the monitoring of CECs to snails and sediments, we found 68 compounds that were not previously detected in water. These compounds include the anti-cancer drug anastrozole, detected for the first time in the Kenyan environment. Individual compound concentrations were detected up to 480 ng/g wet weight (N-ethyl-o-toluenesulfonamide) in snails and 110 ng/g organic carbon (pirimiphos-methyl) in sediments. Higher contaminant concentrations were found in agricultural sites than in areas not impacted by anthropogenic activities. Crustaceans were the organisms at greatest toxic risk from sediment contamination (toxic unit (TU) up to 0.99) with diazinon and pirimiphos-methyl driving this risk. Acute and chronic risks to algae were driven by diuron (TU up to 0.24), whereas fish were found to be at low to no acute risk (TU up to 0.007).


The compound classes present at highest frequencies in all matrices were pesticides and biocides. This study shows substantial contamination of surface water in rural western Kenya. By filling data gaps on contamination of sediments and aquatic biota, our study reveals that CECs pose a substantial risk on environmental health in Kenya demanding for monitoring and mitigation.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Kandie, F.J., Krauss, M., Massei, R., Ganatra, A.A., Fillinger, U., Becker, J.M., Liess, M., Torto, B., Brack, W. (2020):
Multi-compartment chemical characterization and risk assessment of chemicals of emerging concern in freshwater systems of western Kenya
Environ. Sci. Eur. 32 , art. 115 10.1186/s12302-020-00392-9