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Chemosphere. 2008 May;72(1):104-14. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.01.011. Epub 2008 Mar 3.

Analysis of biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants in the aquatic food web of the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes.

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Department of Life Environment Conservation, Faculty of Agriculture, Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-8566, Japan.


The present study elucidated the biomagnification profiles of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) through a tropical aquatic food web of Vietnam based on trophic characterization using stable nitrogen analysis. Various biological samples collected from the main stream of the Mekong Delta were provided for the analysis for both POPs, and stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios. Of the POPs analyzed, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs) were the predominant contaminants with concentrations ranging from 0.058 to 12 ng/g wet weight, followed by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at 0.017-8.9 ng/g, chlordane compounds (CHLs) at 0.0043-0.76 ng/g, tris-4-chlorophenyl methane (TCPMe) at N.D.-0.26 ng/g, hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs) at N.D.-0.20 ng/g and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) at 0.0021-0.096 ng/g. Significant positive increases of concentrations in DDTs, CHLs, and TCPMe against the stable nitrogen ratio (delta(15)N) were detected, while, concentrations of HCHs and HCB showed no significant increase. The slopes of the regression equations between the log-transformed concentrations of these POPs and delta(15)N were used as indices of biomagnification. The slopes of the POPs for which positive biomagnification was detected ranged from 0.149 to 0.177 on a wet weight basis. The slopes of DDTs and CHLs were less than those reported for a marine food web of the Arctic Ocean, indicating that less biomagnification had occurred in the tropical food web. Of the isomers of CHLs, unlike the studies of the Arctic Ocean, oxychlordane did not undergo significant biomagnification through the food web of the Mekong Delta. This difference is considered to be due to a lack of marine mammals, which might metabolize cis- and trans-chlordane to oxychlordane, in the Mekong Delta ecosystem. The biomagnification profile of TCPMe is reported for the first time in the present study.

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