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Sci Total Environ. 2012 Nov 15;439:275-83. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.09.018. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Assessment of legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants in Weddell seal tissue (Leptonychotes weddellii) near McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

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Baylor University, One Bear Place #97388, Waco, TX 76798-7388, USA.


Muscle samples were collected from pup, juvenile and adult Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) near McMurdo Sound, Antarctica during the austral summer of 2006. Blubber samples were collected from juvenile and adult seals. Samples were analyzed for emerging and legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including current and historic-use organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Of the 41 target analytes, 28 contaminants were recovered from the Weddell seal blubber, in this order of prevalence: p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDT, trans-nonachlor, mirex, cis-nonachlor, PCB 153, PCB 138, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, nonachlor III, PCB 187, oxychlordane, cis-chlordane, PCB 118, PBDE 47, PCB 156, PCB 149, PCB 180, PCB 101, PCB 170, PCB 105, o,p'-DDT, PCB 99, trans-chlordane, PCB 157, PCB 167, PCB 189, and PCB 114. Fewer POPs were found in the muscle samples, but were similar in the order of prevalence to that of the blubber: p,p'-DDE, o,p'-DDT, trans-nonachlor, nonachlor III, oxychlordane, p,p'-DDT, dieldrin, mirex, cis-nonachlor, PCB 138, and PCB 105. Besides differences in toxicant concentrations reported between the muscle and blubber, we found differences in POP levels according to age class and suggest that differences in blubber storage and/or mobilization of lipids result in age class differences in POPs. To our knowledge, such ontogenetic associations are novel. Importantly, data from this study suggest that p,p'-DDT is becoming less prevalent temporally, resulting in an increased proportion of its metabolite p,p'-DDE in the tissues of this top predator. In addition, this study is among the first to identify a PBDE congener in Weddell seals near the McMurdo Station. This may provide evidence of increased PBDE transport and encroachment in Antarctic wildlife.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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