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Chemosphere. 2008 Jun;72(6):910-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.03.036. Epub 2008 May 23.

Hydroxylated and methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins in red alga and cyanobacteria living in the Baltic Sea.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (OH-PBDEs) and methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (MeO-PBDEs) are present in the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea. OH-PBDEs are known to be both natural products from marine environments and metabolites of the anthropogenic polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), whereas, MeO-PBDEs appear to be solely natural in origin. Polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PBDDs) are by-products formed in connection with the combustion of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), but are also indicated as natural products in a red alga (Ceramium tenuicorne) and blue mussels living in the Baltic Sea. The aims of the present investigation were to quantify the OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs present in C. tenuicorne; to verify the identities of PBDDs detected previously in this species of red alga and to investigate whether cyanobacteria living in this same region of the Baltic Sea contain OH-PBDEs, MeO-PBDEs and/or PBDDs. The red alga was confirmed to contain tribromodibenzo-p-dioxins (triBDDs), by accurate mass determination and additional PBDD congeners were also detected in this sample. This is the first time that PBDDs have been identified in a red alga. The SigmaOH-PBDEs and SigmaMeO-PBDEs concentrations, present in C. tenuicorne were 150 and 4.6 ng g(-1) dry weight, respectively. In the cyanobacteria 6 OH-PBDEs, 6 MeO-PBDEs and 4 PBDDs were detected by mass spectrometry (electron capture negative ionization (ECNI)). The PBDDs and OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs detected in the red alga and cyanobacteria are most likely of natural origin.

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