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Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Jul 15;98(4):374-80. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

The importance of uptake from food for the bioaccumulation of PCB and PBDE in the marine planktonic copepod Acartia clausi.

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Department of Marine Ecology-Kristineberg, University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, Fiskeb├Ąckskil, Sweden.


The accumulation of (14)C-labelled PCB 31, PCB 101, PCB 153 and PBDE 99 was investigated at the two lowest trophic levels of the pelagic food web. Accumulation was measured in the small phytoplankter Thalassiosira weissflogii (Coscinodiscophyceae: Thalassiosirales) and in the neritic zooplankter Acartia clausi (Copepoda: Calanoida) exposed to the substance either only via water or through ingestion of contaminated T. weissflogii. Bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for all four compounds were significantly higher in A. clausi feeding on contaminated phytoplankton than in animals exposed only via water. The logBAF for the PCBs increased linearly with the octanol-water partitioning coefficients (logK(OW)) in both the algae and the copepods, but with steeper slopes for feeding than non-feeding animals. Reported values for K(OW) for PBDEs vary by almost an order of magnitude and it was therefore not meaningful to calculate a logBAF-logK(OW) ratio for PBDE 99. It is clear that the nutritional status of the zooplankton affects the uptake of the compounds and that the bioaccumulation cannot be modelled as a passive partitioning between the organisms and the surrounding water. Small copepods are typical of coastal waters and point sources (both temporal and spatial) may be the rule for HOC releases into the sea. Thus, the pathways shown in this study are important and realistic.

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