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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and traditional organochlorine pollutants in fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from the Faroe Islands.

The observed high-level burdens of organohalogens among the residents of the Faroe Islands, needs to be explained. Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) blubber and meat are known sources of environmental exposure. The present study focus on the organohalogen contamination of the fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). The compounds quantified in fulmar muscle, fat, and egg are PCBs, DDTs, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The dominating pollutants are the 4,4'-DDT metabolite 4,4'-DDE and the two PCB congeners, CB-153 and CB-180, which are present in geometric mean concentrations of 7100, 4700 and 2500 ng/g lipid weight (l.w.), respectively, in adult fulmar muscle. 4,4'-DDT and HCB concentrations are approximately 250 ng/gl.w., each. Concentrations in the eggs are about 50% of the fulmar muscle levels, due to differences in lipid amounts, 4% in muscle and 10% in the eggs, the exposure contribution on a fresh weight basis is almost the same. As a result, both the egg and the adult fulmar muscle may lead to a significant exposure risk, if consumed by humans. BDE-153, the most abundant PBDE congener in fulmar muscle, with a geometric mean concentration of 6.5 ng/gl.w., is much lower than the individual PCB congeners and 4,4'-DDE concentrations. In the adult fulmar muscle, the relative PBDE congener pattern is different from that previously observed in biota, with BDE-153 and BDE-154 as the dominating congeners, rather than BDE-47. In contrast, BDE-47 is the most abundant congener in juvenile muscle and subcutaneous fat. The summation operatorPBDE concentrations are almost the same in egg, muscle (adult and juvenile) and subcutaneous fat (juvenile). For the polybrominated biphenyl (BB-153) the concentrations are considerably higher in the adult bird and egg than in the juvenile bird; this is also seen for the PCB and 4,4'-DDE concentrations. PCB concentrations found in fulmar egg and muscle are in the same range as seen in the pilot whale, i.e. 590-5700 ng/gl.w. for CB-153. Hence humans are also exposed to PCBs at a reasonable degree via intake of fulmar and/or fulmar egg and not only via pilot whale blubber.[1]


  1. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and traditional organochlorine pollutants in fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) from the Faroe Islands. Fängström, B., Athanasiadou, M., Athanassiadis, I., Bignert, A., Grandjean, P., Weihe, P., Bergman, A. Chemosphere (2005) [Pubmed]
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