Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) continue to be an environmental concern. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are an important wildlife sentinel species, although very little information is available regarding the body distribution (limited to e.g. liver and blood) of these contaminants and in relation to depuration via in ovo transfer. Maternal transfer rates and distribution were presently determined in six body compartments from eight female, Great Lakes herring gulls and separate egg compartments from their entire clutch. Among the 25 PBDEs and 23 non-PBDE HFRs assessed, only six PBDE congeners (BDE-47/99/100/153/154/209), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), and Dechlorane Plus (syn- and anti-DDC-CO) were frequently detectable and quantifiable. Σ6BDE concentrations were an order of magnitude greater than non-PBDE HFR concentrations, and were greatest in the adipose (9641 ± 2436 ng/g ww), followed by egg yolk (699 ± 139 ng/g ww) > muscle (332 ± 545 ng/g ww) > liver (221 ± 65 ng/g ww) > plasma (85.4 ± 20.4 ng/g ww) > brain (54.6 ± 10.6 ng/g ww) > red blood cells (RBCs; 23.5 ± 5.6 ng/g ww) > albumen (7.3 ± 1.3 ng/g ww). Σ2DDC-CO and HBCDD were frequently below the method limit of quantification in the brain, RBCs, plasma, and albumen. Additionally, novel methoxylated-polybrominated diphenoxybenzene contaminants were detected and quantified in herring gull tissues and eggs. The primary difference in PBDE congener profiles was the resistance of both BDE-153 and -154 towards accumulation in the brain, and a corresponding increase in BDE-209 accumulation, which may suggest congener-specific differences in crossing the blood-brain barrier in herring gulls. Maternal transfer rates of PBDEs and non-PBDE HFRs were low (∼4.7 and ∼2.9 % respectively), suggesting that in ovo transfer is not a significant mode of depuration for these compounds.Among numerous flame retardant (FRs), PBDEs, hexabromocyclododecane, and Dechlorane Plus isomers were quantifiable in tissues, body compartment and eggs of Great Lakes herring gulls. Maternal transfer rates of these FRs were low suggesting that in ovo transfer is not a significant mode of depuration.

, , , ,
Environmental Pollution
Department of Biology

Smythe, T.A. (Tristan A.), Mattioli, L.C. (Lisa C.), & Letcher, R.J. (2020). Distribution behaviour in body compartments and in ovo transfer of flame retardants in North American Great Lakes herring gulls. Environmental Pollution, 262. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114306