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J Environ Monit. 2006 Aug;8(8):795-9. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

The U.S. National biomonitoring specimen bank and the marine environmental specimen bank.

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  • 1Analytical Chemistry Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, SC 29412, USA.


The National Biomonitoring Specimen Bank (NBSB), established in 1979 at the NIST Neutron Research Facility, Gaithersburg, Maryland, was specifically designed to store environmental specimens over long periods of time (50-100 years). This bank contains specimens (e.g., human livers, marine sediments, fish tissues, mussels, oysters, human diet samples, and marine mammal tissues) collected as part of several monitoring and research programs supported by U.S. Federal agencies. In 2002, NIST completed the construction of a second environmental specimen bank facility specifically designed for supporting monitoring and research on marine environmental health issues. This facility, the Marine Environmental Specimen Bank (Marine ESB) is located at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, in partnership with a U.S. Federal resource agency, two universities, and a State of South Carolina resource agency. The Marine ESB provides a resource of research specimens that are used to address questions regarding temporal and geographic trends in environmental contamination, genetic separation of populations of animals, and the health status of various types of marine animals. Specimens banked include marine mammal tissues, bird tissues, mussels, and oysters. Plans are underway to establish protocols and initiate banking procedures for other types of marine organisms and environmental materials as part of an expanded effort to support research on the health of marine biota.

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