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RAACH, M., M. LEBEUF, E. PELLETIER, 2011. PBDEs and PCBs in the liver of the St Lawrence Estuary beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) : a comparison of levels and temporal trends with the blubber. J. Environ. Monit., 13(3): 649-656 .
Due to their lipophilic properties, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are commonly assessed using the blubber of marine mammals. However, these chemicals are also accumulating in other tissues including the liver. Some pollutants, namely perfluorinated alkyl acids, are found predominately in the liver and blood of marine mammals, and thus monitored in those tissues. This raises the question whether any tissue would represent an identical trend of POPs in the SLE beluga. The current study reports the first temporal trends of PBDEs and PCBs in the liver of 65 SLE belugas. Neither ?7PBDEs nor major individual PBDE-homolog group concentrations showed significant trends between 1993 and 2007.Also, ?32PCBs did not change over years, although, tetra-, penta- and hepta-PCB decreased by 7.1, 6.8 and 8.5 %, respectively, in males, whereas tetra-, penta- and octa-PCBs declined by 11, 12 and 12.9 %, respectively, in females. In order to compare the distribution of POPs between liver and blubber, a lipid normalised concentration ratio R (blubber/liver) for PBDEs and PCBs was calculated for each individual beluga.For all PBDEand several PCBhomolog groups, mean R values were not statistically different from unity indicating that the partitioning of these POPs is governed by the tissue lipid-content. Temporal trends of R ratios of PBDEs and PCBs were also examined. There were generally no significant temporal trends except for PBDEs inmales where R increased in average by 12.7±2.9 % yearly.The stratification of the blubber into ametabolically active (inner) and less active layers (outer blubber) may result in a slower response time of the blubber (full depth) than the liver to the recent change of contamination in the environment and explain the time trend differences between both tissues. This study suggests that the liver is more representative of recent exposure to lipophilic contaminants.©2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry
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