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Spatial and seasonal differences in the PCB content of the mussel Mytilus edulis
Hummel, H.; Bogaards, R.H.; Nieuwenhuize, J.; De Wolf, L.; Van Liere, L. (1990). Spatial and seasonal differences in the PCB content of the mussel Mytilus edulis. Sci. Total Environ. 92: 155-163.
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hummel, H., more
  • Bogaards, R.H.
  • Nieuwenhuize, J.
  • De Wolf, L.
  • Van Liere, L.

    Seasonal and spatial variation in the concentration of PCBs, fats (non-polar lipids) and total lipids and the condition of the mussel Mytilus edulis were assessed in three differing water bodies of the Dutch delta area. Highest concentrations of PCBs in the mussel were found in the Westerschelde estuary, with much lower concentrations in the Oosterschelde and the brackish lake Grevelingenmeer. Spatial differences were strongly related to salinity; lower concentrations were found at the more saline stations, pointing to freshwater inputs as being the origin of the PCBs in mussels. The PCB concentration in mussels, on the basis of dry or total weight, in general increased during summer, autumn and winter and decreased strongly during spring. The strong decrease is related to the spawning of gametes. Seasonal changes in the PCB concentration on the basis of the dry weight were not related to changes in the fat content or the condition of the animals. Only PCBs on a fat basis were negatively related to fat content, indicating a dilution of PCBs during seasonal fat accumulation and concentration of PCBs during fat utilization, in such a way that the total PCB concentration in the animal remains the same. It seems that, besides reproduction, equilibrium partitioning is the most probable mechanism that determines the PCB content of mussels.

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