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Environ Pollut. 2020 Jan 21;260:114035. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114035. [Epub ahead of print]

Compositional profiles, persistency and toxicity of polychlorinated naphthalene (PCN) congeners in edible cod liver products from 1972 to 2017.

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University of Gdańsk, Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, 80-308, Gdańsk, Poland; Environmental and Computational Chemistry Group, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zaragocilla Campus, University of Cartagena, 130015, Cartagena, Colombia(1). Electronic address:
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.


Edible cod liver products including cod liver oil and canned cod liver, sampled over the last five decades from the North Atlantic region, including the Baltic Sea were analysed for a set of persistent and toxicologically significant polychlorinated naphthalene (PCN) congeners with some of the highest relative potencies (dioxin-like toxicity) among PCNs. The targeted congeners showed a near-universality of occurrence in all samples apart from the most recent sample of cod liver oil which was assumed to be highly purified, as cod livers from the same period and location showed appreciable amounts of PCNs. The majority of dominant congeners in legacy technical PCN mixtures were absent or occurred in low concentrations, raising the possibility that congeners arising from combustion related sources may be acquiring a greater significance following the decline and elimination of PCN production. The apparent appreciation in the relative amounts of PCN#70 in the last three to four decades may provide support for this view. The PCN contribution to dioxin-like toxic equivalence (TEQ) that was estimated for these samples (range 1.2-15.9 pg TEQ g-1) was significant in comparison to the EU regulated value of 1.75 pg TEQ g-1 for dioxins in fish oils. Most of the TEQ was associated with PCNs 66/67, 64/68, 69 and 73. Although metabolic processes are likely to influence this distribution, the profile is a little different to that observed in the tissues of higher order animals where PCNs #66/67 and #73 may contribute approximately 90% to the summed TEQ.


Dioxin-like toxicity; Fish oil; Marine food; Persistence; Toxic equivalence

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