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Chemosphere. 2010 Jul;80(6):613-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.04.060. Epub 2010 May 20.

High concentrations of persistent organic pollutants including PCBs, DDT, PBDEs and PFOS in little brown bats with white-nose syndrome in New York, USA.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA. kkannan@wadsworth.org


White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a condition associated with white fungal growth on ears, wings, and nose of hibernating bats; this condition has recently resulted in high bat mortality in the northeastern United States. Nevertheless, the pathogenesis of morbidity and mortality are still unknown. Elevated exposure to toxic contaminants could be a contributing factor via the consequent immunosuppression and endocrine disruption. In this study, diseased little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) were collected from several hibernacula in eastern New York State in 2008. Fat tissues of bats were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs; DDT, chlordanes, HCB, and HCH), and liver was analyzed for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). A reference population of little brown bats, not affected by WNS, was also collected from a cave in Kentucky for the analysis of trace organic contaminants. Concentration of PCBs in fat tissues of bats from New York ranged from 1900 ng g(-1) to 35000 ng g(-1), lipid wt, with the highest concentrations found in bats collected from caves in Albany County. High concentrations of PCBs were also found in bats from Kentucky (17100-18400 ng g(-1), lipid wt). Total PBDE concentrations in fat tissues ranged from 520 ng g(-1) to 10900 ng g(-1), lipid wt, in bats from New York and from 4300 ng g(-1) to 13000 ng g(-1), lipid wt, in bats from Kentucky. High concentrations of DDT (26900 ng g(-1), lipid wt), chlordanes (6350 ng g(-1), lipid wt), and HCB (260 ng g(-1), lipid wt) were found in bats from New York. Concentrations of hexabromobiphenyl congener 153 (PBB 153) in bats from New York ranged from 8.6ngg(-1) to 124000 ng g(-1), lipid wt. Concentrations of PFCs were on the order of a few tens to a few hundreds of nanograms per gram liver, on a wet weight basis. Overall, high concentrations of PCBs, PBDEs, DDT, and chlordanes were found in fat tissues of diseased bats from New York, although the concentrations in bats from non-diseased, reference population, from Kentucky were also high.

2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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