Bioaccumulation of hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls and pentachlorophenol in the serum of northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga angustirostris)

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Northern elephant seals (NES) (Mirounga angustirostris) from the Año Nuevo State Reserve (CA, USA) were sampled at 1-, 4-, 7- and 10-week post-weaning. Concentrations of hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (HO-PCBs) and their parent PCBs were measured in the serum of each individual. The ΣHO-PCB concentrations in the serum increased significantly between early and late fast (from 282±20 to 529±31 pg/mL). This increase might result from a mobilisation of HO-PCBs transferred from the mother during gestation and/or lactation and stored in the pup's liver. Food deprivation has been shown to exacerbate biotransformation capacities in mammals, birds and fish. The HO-penta-CBs was the predominant homologue group, followed by HO-hexa-CBs and HO-hepta-CBs. No preferential pathway for the metabolism of HO-PCBs (HO-direct insertion or NIH-shift of a chlorine atom) could be evidenced. The concentrations of pentachlorophenol (PCP) in the serum of weaned NES increased from 103±7 pg/mL at early fast to 246±41 pg/mL at late fast, which is within the range of PCP concentrations usually encountered in marine mammals.

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