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Comparisons of patterns of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in water, sediment, and indigenous organisms from New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts


Polychlorinated biphenyl patterns were compared in samples of water, surface sediment, and the indigenous organisms ribbed mussels (Modiolus demissus), grass shrimp (Paleomonetes pugio), mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitis), and eels (Anguila rostrata) collected from 1991 through 1993 at two stations in the highly contaminated New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts. Principal component analysis of analytical data showed groups of points that corresponded to individual species, but little separation between stations for the same species was found. Linear correlations showed a high level of agreement between PCB patterns in samples of the exposure environment (water and sediments) and two species of organisms (ribbed mussels and mummichogs). However, due to two separate metabolic alterations of PCBs, the patterns in both shrimp and eels showed poor agreement with patterns in water and sediment. Selective enrichment factors (SEFs), the ratios of individual coplanar or mono-ortho substituted congeners to the total PCBs, were used to compare the relative abundance of congeners in samples. Due to metabolic differences, the SEFs were lower in eels and higher in shrimp than those found in Aroclor® standards.

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Correspondence to J. L. Lake.

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Mention of product names does not constitute endorsement for use by USEPA. Environmental Research Laboratory Contribution No. 1598.

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Lake, J.L., McKinney, R., Lake, C.A. et al. Comparisons of patterns of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in water, sediment, and indigenous organisms from New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 29, 207–220 (1995).

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  • Waste Water
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • PCBs
  • Biphenyl
  • Surface Sediment