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Sci Total Environ. 2013 Apr 1;449:401-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.092. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Biomagnification and debromination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in a coastal ecosystem in Tokyo Bay.

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  • 1Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.


By field sampling and laboratory experiments we compared the mechanisms by which polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are biomagnified. We measured PBDEs and PCBs, together with stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes as an index of trophic level, in low-trophic-level organisms collected from a coastal area in Tokyo Bay. PBDEs were biomagnified to a lesser degree than PCBs. The more hydrophobic congeners of each were biomagnified more. However, the depletion of BDE congeners BDE99 and BDE153 from fish was suggested. To study congener-specific biotransformation of halogenated compounds, we conducted an in vitro experiment using hepatic microsomes of two species of fish and five BDE congeners (BDE47, 99, 100, 153, and 154) and five CB congeners with the same substitution positions as the PBDEs. BDE99 and 153 were partially debrominated, but BDE47 and 154 were not debrominated. This congener-specific debromination is consistent with the field results. Both in vitro and field results suggested selective debromination at the meta position. The CB congeners were not transformed in vitro. This result is also consistent with the field results, that PCBs were more biomagnified than PBDEs. We conclude that metabolizability is an important factor in the biomagnification of chemicals, but other factors must be responsible for the lower biomagnification of PBDEs in natural ecosystems.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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