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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Oct 1;39(19):7389-95.

Polychlorinated biphenyls in salmon and salmon feed: global differences and bioaccumulation.

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  • 1School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


Concentrations of 160 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners or congener groups were determined in approximately 600 farmed Atlantic salmon from around the world and wild (ocean-caught) Pacific salmon from the Northeast Pacific. Concentrations and PCB congener profiles were analyzed to provide insight into the sources and uptake of PCBs in salmon as well as regional differences. Although total PCB concentrations in wild salmon appeared to be correlated to total lipid content, the increased proportion of total lipids in the farmed salmon could not account for the much greater PCB concentrations. We investigated the PCB congener patterns of hundreds of salmon samples using principal component analysis to further illuminate regional and species differences. Three major PCB patterns were observed, in most wild fish (except British Columbia and Oregon chinook), in farmed fish from the Atlantic, and in most farmed fish from the Pacific. The PCB congener profiles of farmed salmon often closely corresponded to a sample of commercial feed purchased in the same region, indicating that the feed is likely to be the major source of PCBs for farmed salmon. In such cases where PCB profiles in fish and feed were similar, a comparison of congener concentrations in fish and the feed showed that the majority of congeners, with some notable exceptions, were bioaccumulative to the same extent, irrespective of physical properties.

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