Bioaccumulation, Biotransformation, and Biochemical Effects of Brominated Diphenyl Ethers in Juvenile Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Environmental Science and Technology





First Page


Last Page



Juvenile lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) were exposed to three dietary concentrations (0, ∼2.5, and ∼25 ng/g per BDE congener) of 13 BDE congeners (3-10 Br atoms) in the laboratory for 56 days, followed by 112 days of clean food, to examine bioaccumulation parameters and potential biochemical effects. The bioaccumulation of BDEs by the trout was highly influenced by biotransformation, via debromination, which resulted in bioaccumulation parameters that were much different than would be expected based on studies of chlorinated organic compounds (e.g., PCBs). Half-lives (t1/2's) for some BDE congeners (e.g., BDE-85 and -190) were much lower than expected based on their Kow, which was likely due to biotransformation, whereas t1/2's of other BDE congeners (e.g., BDE-66, -77, -153, and -154) were much longer than anticipated based on Kow. This was likely because the metabolites of BDE formed via debromination had the same chemical structure of these BDE congeners, which supplemented measured concentrations. The detection of three BDE congeners (an unknown penta, BDE-140, and an unknown hexa) in the fish that were not present in the food or in the control fish provide further evidence for the debromination of BDEs. Half-lives of BDEs ranged from 38 ± 9 to 346 ± 173 days and biomagnification factors ranged from 1.6 (BDE-190) to 45.9 (BDE-100), but these bioaccumulation parameters need to be viewed with caution because they were highly influenced by debromination and relative abundance of individual BDEs that the fish were exposed to. CYP 1A enzyme activity, measured as EROD, and free tri-iodothyronine (T3) concentrations in the plasma of lake trout varied significantly throughout the experiment but were not related to BDE exposure. In contrast, plasma levels of thyroxine levels (T4) were lower in both groups of PBDE-exposed fish compared with control fish after 56 days of exposure, and after 168 days in the high dose, suggesting that PBDEs may influence thyroid homeostasis at levels that are higher than what is normally found in the environment.





PubMed ID