Environmental science and pollution research international

PFAS profiles in three North Sea top predators: metabolic differences among species?

PMID 23532533


Profiles of seven compounds of perfluoro-alkyl substances (PFASs) were compared among three species of top predators from the Danish North Sea: the white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). The seals had higher total burdens (757.8 ng g(-1) ww) than the dolphins (439.9 ng g(-1) ww) and the porpoises (355.8 ng g(-1) ww), probably a reflection of feeding closer to the shore and thus contamination sources. The most striking difference among the species was the relative contribution of perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA) to the profiles; the seals (0.1%) had much lower levels than porpoises (8.3%) and dolphins (26.0%). In combination with the values obtained from the literature, this result indicates that Carnivora species including Pinnipedia have a much higher capacity of transforming PFOSA to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) than cetacean species. Another notable difference among the species was that the two smaller species (seals and porpoises) with supposedly higher metabolic rates had lower concentrations of the perfluorinated carboxylic acids, which are generally more easily excreted than perfluorinated sulfonamides. Species-specific characteristics should be recognized when PFAS contamination in marine mammals is investigated, for example, several previous studies of PFASs in cetaceans have not quantified PFOSA.

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