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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Apr 1;41(7):2216-22.

Bioaccumulation, temporal trend, and geographical distribution of synthetic musks in the marine environment.

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  • 1Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, 2-39-1 Kurokami, Kumamoto 860-8555 Japan.


Bioaccumulation of synthetic musks in a marine food chain was investigated by analyzing marine organisms at various trophic levels, including lugworm, clam, crustacean, fish, marine mammal, and bird samples collected from tidal flat and shallow water areas of the Ariake Sea, Japan. Two of the polycyclic musks, HHCB and AHTN, were the dominant compounds found in most of the samples analyzed, whereas nitro musks were not detected in any of the organisms, suggesting greater usage of polycyclic musks relative to the nitro musks in Japan. The highest concentrations of HHCB were detected in clams (258-2730 ng/g lipid wt.), whereas HHCB concentrations in mallard and black-headed gull were low, and comparable with concentrations in fish and crab. These results are in contrast to the bioaccumulation pattern of polychlorinated biphenyls; for which a positive correlation between the concentration and the trophic status of organisms was found. Such a difference in the bioaccumulation is probably due to the metabolism and elimination of HHCB in higher trophic organisms. Temporal trends in concentrations of synthetic musks were examined by analyzing tissues of marine mammals from Japanese coastal waters collected during 1977-2005. HHCB concentrations in marine mammals have shown significant increase since the early 1990s, suggesting a continuous input of this compound into the marine environment. Comparison of the time trend for HHCB with those for PCBs and PBDEs suggested that the rates of increase in HHCB concentrations were higher than the other classes of pollutants. To examine the geographical distribution of HHCB, we have analyzed tissues of fish, marine mammals, and birds collected from several locations. Synthetic musks were not detected in a sperm whale (pelagic species) from Japanese coastal water and in eggs of south polar skua from Antarctica. While the number of samples analyzed is limited, these results imply a lack of long-range transportation potential of synthetic musks in the environment.

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