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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 1;11(12):e0167487. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167487. eCollection 2016.

Levels of Selected Persistent Organic Pollutants (PCB, PBDE) and Pesticides in Honey Bee Pollen Sampled in Poland.

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Department of Food Analysis, Institute of Agricultural and Food Biotechnology, Rakowiecka, Warsaw, Poland.


Chemical plant protection is a commonly discussed factor potentially responsible for decline in pollinators and other beneficial insect populations. Various groups of chemicals including persistent organic pollutants could impact a bee colony's welfare and are reported to be present in bee tissue and apiary products. The aim of this work was to evaluate the presence of selected persistent organic pollutant and pesticide residues in bee pollen originating from different geographical regions of Poland. Pesticide residues were identified in 60% of tested bee pollen samples. The compounds identified were mainly active ingredients of fungicide preparations. Insecticide active ingredients were up to 30% of the identified residues. The triazole fungicide tebuconazole and the neonicotinoid insecticide thiacloprid were the most frequently found pesticides in pollen. The highest pesticide concentration was determined for prothioconazole (356 μg kg-1). Mean concentrations of chlorinated biphenyls-EC6 and EC12 were 194 pg g-1 and 74 pg g-1, respectively. CB # 28 has the greatest share in the EC6 profile (mean 61 pg g-1, 31% contribution). Relatively high contributions were also observed for CBs # 101 (35 pg g-1, 18%), # 138 (36 pg g-1, 19%) and # 153 (33 pg g-1, 17%). CB # 114 and 118 have the highest share in the dioxin-like biphenyls fraction with mean concentrations of 17.6 and 37.6 pg g-1 (respectively 23 and 50%). Mean calculated concentrations of 39 polybrominated diphenyl ether congeners (Σ39 BDE) were 20 ± 27.7 pg g-1. High variability was observed between maximal and minimal determined concentration values. Individual BDEs were found at different frequencies and varying concentration levels. BDEs # 47, 75 and 99 dominated the profile with average concentrations of 3 pg g-1, 3.1 pg g-1, and 2.9 pg g-1, respectively.

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