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Sci Total Environ. 2008 Jul 1;397(1-3):190-204. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.02.029. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Biomagnification of organic pollutants in benthic and pelagic marine food chains from the Baltic Sea.

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Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Frescativägen 50, Stockholm University, SE 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.

Erratum in

  • Sci Total Environ. 2009 Oct 15;407(21):5803-4.


The trophic transfer of organic pollutants with varying physical chemical properties was determined in both a pelagic and benthic food chain using delta 15N as a continuous variable for assessing trophic levels. The trophic transfer of organic pollutants through the entire food chain in terms of food chain magnification factors (FCMFs) was quantified from the slope of the regression between ln [concentration] and delta 15N. Organic pollutants with statistically significant FCMFs >1 were considered to biomagnify within the food chain, whereas those with FCMFs <1 were considered to trophically dilute. Statistically significant FCMFs >1 were found for PCB congeners and organochlorine pesticides in the Baltic food chains whereas statistically significant FCMFs <1 were found for PAHs and PCNs due to trophic dilution resulting from metabolism. FCMFs were generally greater in the pelagic food chain than in the benthic food chain. However, estimated FCMFs for the benthic food chain are likely in error, as the delta 15N method suggested a food chain structure which was not consistent with the known dietary patterns of the species. Biomagnification factors (BMFs) were additionally calculated as the ratio of the lipid normalized concentrations in the predator and prey species with adjustment for trophic level and were generally consistent with the FCMFs with BMF >1 for PCBs and organochlorines.

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