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Biomagnification of PBDEs in Three Small Terrestrial Food Chains

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2007 by Stefan Voorspoels, Adrian Covaci, Jaspers, Hugo Neels, Paul Schepens
Eight polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) congeners (IUPAC nos. 28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154, 183, and 209) were measured in passerines (great tits - Parus major), wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), and bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus). These data were combined with previously obtained data on PBDEs in common buzzards (Buteo buteo), sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), and red fox (Vulpes vulpes). This enabled estimation of the biomagnification potential of PBDEs in the following three terrestrial food chains:  great tit−sparrowhawk, small rodents−buzzard, and small rodents−fox. Biomagnification of BDE 209 could not be assessed because levels of this congener were below the LOQ in the prey species. All other congeners, except BDE 28, were biomagnified in both predatory bird species. Biomagnification of BDE 28 could not be observed from rodents to buzzard. Biomagnification factors (BMFs) were calculated as the ratio between the lipid-normalized concentrations in the predator and in the prey. BMFs ranged from 2 to 34 for the sum of PBDEs in predatory bird food chain. Although the fox is a top-predator, this is not reflected in the PBDE concentrations that were measured in its tissues. In the small rodent−fox food chain, no biomagnification could be observed. This observation is most likely related to the high metabolic capacity of the fox with regard to organohalogens and should be taken into account when selecting species for environmental monitoring purposes. Not all top-predators will give a representative reflection of the pollution of their habitat, but confounding factors, such as metabolism, can influence the results to a great extent and can therefore lead to misinterpretations.