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Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 May;46(5):1834-43. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2008.01.028. Epub 2008 Jan 26.

Accumulation and depuration of the synthetic antioxidant ethoxyquin in the muscle of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.).

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National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), Nordnes, Bergen, Norway.


The biological fate of the fish feed additive, ethoxyquin (EQ) was examined in the muscle of Atlantic salmon during 12 weeks of feeding followed by a 2 weeks depuration period. Parent EQ (1,2-dihydro-6-ethoxy-2,2,4-trimethylquinoline), quinone imine (2,6-dihydro-2,2,4-trimethyl-6-quinolone), de-ethylated EQ (6-hydroxy-2,2,4-trimethyl-1,2-dihydroquinoline) and EQDM (EQ dimer or 1,8'-di(1,2-dihydro-6-ethoxy-2,2,4-trimethyl-quinoline) were found to be the ubiquitous metabolites of dietary EQ, with EQDM as a main metabolite. A rapid decrease in the level of EQ (2.4 days of half-life) was balanced by an increase in EQDM, giving an unchanged net sum following 2 weeks of depuration. The mandatory 14 days depuration period prior to slaughtering of farmed salmon in Norway was not sufficient for complete elimination of EQ-derived residuals. Post depuration, EQDM accounted for 99% of sum of the two compounds in all treatment groups; possible toxicological effects of EQDM are not known. The individual concentrations of EQ and EQDM and their sum are dependent on EQ level in the feed, consequently, their residual concentrations may be controlled. The theoretical amount of EQ and EQDM consumed in one meal of farmed salmon would be under the recommended ADI, provided that the fish were raised on feed with no more than 150 mg EQ/kg feed, which is the EU maximum limit for EQ in fish feed.

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