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Environ Pollut. 1997;98(1):81-9.

Persistent organochlorines in minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and their prey species from the Antarctic and the North Pacific.

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Department of Environment Conservation, Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama 790, Japan.


Persistent organochlorines such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs, chlordane compounds (CHLs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were determined in the blubber of minke whale and its diet collected from the Antarctic and the North Pacific Oceans. Residue levels of these compounds (except HCB) in minke whale from the Antarctic were apparently lower than those from the North Pacific. This is due to the lower levels of these pollutants in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere and the specific feeding habit of the minke whale from the Antarctic which feeds on lower trophic organisms, primarily euphausiids. The north-south difference for HCB residue levels was small, reflecting its dispersible nature through long-range atmospheric transport. Compositions of DDT and CHL compounds in minke whale from the Antarctic were similar to those from the North Pacific. However, the composition of HCH isomers was different between the Antarctic and the North Pacific as was observed in their diet, suggesting a larger or on-going usage of lindane in the southern hemisphere countries. In minke whale from the Antarctic, the elevated level of PCBs residues was noted during a period of 1984 to 1993, implying a continuous discharge of PCBs in the southern hemisphere. A similar discharge was also suggested in the North Pacific, while a decreasing contamination by DDTs was apparent.


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