, Volume 24, Issue 7–8, pp 1593–1600 | Cite as

Geographical distribution and risk assessment of persistent organic pollutants in golden threads (Nemipterus virgatus) from the northern South China Sea

  • Qing Hao
  • Yu-Xin Sun
  • Xiang-Rong Xu
  • Zi-Wei Yao
  • You-Shao Wang
  • Zai-Wang Zhang
  • Xiao-Jun Luo
  • Bi-Xian Mai


Fish are often used as good bioindicators to monitor the occurrence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on different scales in recent years. Forty-five golden threads (Nemipterus virgatus) were collected from six sampling sites in the northern South China Sea (SCS) to investigate the geographical distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs). Concentrations of PBDEs, PCBs, and DDTs ranged from 1.3–36.0, 2.3–76.5, 8.3–228 ng/g lipid weight, respectively. The highest PBDEs and DDTs concentrations were found in golden threads from Shantou, owing to the intensive electronic waste recycling activities and rapid development of agriculture. Samples from Haikou had the highest levels of PCBs, probably due to the existence of many shipbuilding yards in the past years. The concentrations of PBDEs and PCBs were found in a decreasing trend from east to west and from north to south, while DDTs concentrations had no obvious trend in the distribution. PCBs were the most prevalent contaminants in Xiamen and Yangjiang, while DDTs were the dominant compounds at the other four sampling sites. Different profiles of POPs at each sampling site may attribute to different pollution sources in the northern SCS. Ratios of (DDD + DDE)/DDTs in golden threads suggested the probability of fresh input of DDT in the northern SCS. The estimated daily intakes of PBDEs, PCBs and DDTs were 0.030–0.069, 0.167–0.258 and 0.105–1.88 ng/kg/day, respectively, which were significantly lower than the acceptable daily intake, suggesting that consumption of golden threads from the northern SCS would not subject the residents in the coastal areas of SCS to significant health risk.


Persistent organic pollutants Golden thread Geographical distribution The northern South China Sea 



This study was financially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41401576, 51378488 and 41230639), Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (No. S2013040016910), Open Fund of Key Laboratory for Ecological Environment in Coastal Areas, State Oceanic Administration (201307). Zi-Rong Huang from South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences is acknowledged for his help in fish sample collection.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no financial and personal relationships with other people and/or organizations that can inappropriately influence our work, there is no professional or other personal interest of any nature or kind in any product, service and/or company that could be construed as influencing the position presented in, or the review of, the manuscript entitled “Geographical distribution and risk assessment of persistent organic pollutants in golden threads (Nemipterus virgatus) from the northern South China Sea”.


  1. Alaee M, Arias P, Sjödin A, Bergman A (2003) An overview of commercially used brominated flame retardants, their applications, their use patterns in different countries/regions and possible modes of release. Environ Int 29:683–689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antignac JP, Cariou R, Maume D, Marchand P, Monteau F, Zalko D, Berrebi A, Cravedi JP, Andre F, Le Bizec B (2008) Exposure assessment of fetus and newborn to brominated flame retardants in France: preliminary data. Mol Nutr Food Res 52:258–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ben Ameur W, Ben Hassine S, Eljarrat E, El Megdiche Y, Trabelsi S, Hammami B, Barcelo D, Driss MR (2011) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and their methoxylated analogs in mullet (Mugil cephalus) and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) from Bizerte Lagoon, Tunisia. Mar Environ Res 72:258–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ben Ameur W, Trabelsi S, El Megdiche Y, Ben Hassine S, Barhoumi B, Hammami B, Eljarrat E, Barcelo D, Driss MR (2013) Concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in mullet (Mugil cephalus) and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) from Bizerte Lagoon (Northern Tunisia). Chemosphere 90:2372–2380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burreau S, Axelman J, Broman D, Jakobsson E (1997) Dietary uptake in pike (Esox lucius) of some polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated naphthalenes and polybrominated diphenyl ethers administered in natural diet. Environ Toxicol Chem 16:2508–2513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bustnes JO, Borgå K, Dempster T, Lie E, Nygård T, Uglem I (2012) Latitudinal distribution of persistent organic pollutants in pelagic and demersal marine fish on the Norwegian coast. Environ Sci Technol 46:7836–7843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byer JD, Lebeuf M, Alaee M, Stephen BR, Trottier S, Backus S, Keir M, Couillard CM, Casselman J, Hodson PV (2013) Spatial trends of organochlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Atlantic anguillid eels. Chemosphere 90:1719–1728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carpenter SK, Mateus-Pinilla NE, Singh K, Lehner A, Satterthwaite-Phillips D, Bluett RD, Rivera NA, Novakofski JE (2014) River otters as biomonitors for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in Illinois. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 100:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheung KC, Zheng JS, Leung HM, Wong MH (2008) Exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers associated with consumption of marine and freshwater fish in Hong Kong. Chemosphere 70:1707–1720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darnerud PO, Eriksen GS, Jóhannesson T, Larsen PB, Viluksela M (2001) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers: occurrence, dietary exposure, and toxicology. Environ Health Perspect 109:49–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Darnerud PO, Atuma S, Aune M, Bjerselius R, Glynn A, Grawe KP, Becker W (2006) Dietary intake estimations of organohalogen contaminants (dioxins, PCB, PBDE and chlorinated pesticides, e.g. DDT) based on Swedish market basket data. Food Chem Toxicol 44:1597–1606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Domingo JL, Bocio A, Falcó G, Llobett JM (2006) Exposure to PBDEs and PCDEs associated with the consumption of edible marine species. Environ Sci Technol 40:4394–4399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Erdogrul O, Covaci A, Schepens P (2005) Levels of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish species from Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Environ Int 31:703–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guo LL, Qiu YW, Zhang G, Zheng GJ, Lam PKS, Li XD (2008) Levels and bioaccumulation of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in fishes from the Pearl River Estuary and Daya Bay, South China. Environ Pollut 152:604–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guo JY, Wu FC, Shen RL, Zeng EY (2010) Dietary intake and potential health risk of DDTs and PBDEs via seafood consumption in South China. Ecotoxicol Environ Safe 73:1812–1819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hao Q, Sun YX, Xu XR, Yao ZW, Wang YS, Zhang ZW, Luo XJ, Mai BX (2014) Occurrence of persistent organic pollutants in marine fish from the Natuna Island, South China Sea. Mar Pollut Bull 85:274–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiang QT, Lee TKM, Chen K, Wong HL, Zheng JS, Giesy JP, Lo KKW, Yamashita N, Lam PKS (2005) Human health risk assessment of organochlorines associated with fish consumption in a coastal city in China. Environ Pollut 136:155–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lavandier R, Quinete N, Hauser-Davis RA, Dias PS, Taniguchi S, Montone R, Moreira I (2013) Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in three fish species from an estuary in the southeastern coast of Brazil. Chemosphere 90:2435–2443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leung SY, Kwok CK, Nie XP, Cheung KC, Wong MH (2010) Risk assessment of residual DDTs in freshwater and marine fish cultivated around the Pearl River Delta, China. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 58:415–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lohmann R, Breivik K, Dachs J, Muir D (2007) Global fate of POPs: current and future research directions. Environ Pollut 150:150–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luo XJ, Zhang XL, Liu J, Wu JP, Luo Y, Chen SJ, Mai BX, Yang ZY (2009) Persistent halogenated compounds in waterbirds from an e-waste recycling region in South China. Environ Sci Technol 43:306–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meng XZ, Zeng EY, Yu LP, Guo Y, Mai BX (2007a) Assessment of human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers in China via fish consumption and inhalation. Environ Sci Technol 41:4882–4887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Meng XZ, Zeng EY, Yu LP, Mai BX, Luo XJ, Ran Y (2007b) Persistent halogenated hydrocarbons in consumer fish of China: regional and global implications for human exposure. Environ Sci Technol 41:1821–1827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China and Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China (2012) GB 2763-2012, National food safety standard-maximum residue limits for pesticides in foodGoogle Scholar
  25. Mizukawa K, Takada H, Takeuchi I, Ikemoto T, Omori K, Tsuchiya K (2009) Bioconcentration and biomagnification of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) through lower-trophic-level coastal marine food web. Mar Pollut Bull 58:1217–1224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Naso B, Perrone D, Ferrante MC, Bilancione M, Lucisano A (2005) Persistent organic pollutants in edible marine species from the Gulf of Naples, Southern Italy. Sci Total Environ 343:83–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shaw SD, Berger ML, Brenner D, Kannan K, Lohmann N, Päpke O (2009) Bioaccumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and hexabromocyclododecane in the northwest Atlantic marine food web. Sci Total Environ 407:3323–3329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Storelli MM, Casalino E, Barone G, Marcotrigiano GO (2008) Persistent organic pollutants (PCBs and DDTs) in small size specimens of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) from the Mediterranean Sea (Ionian Sea). Environ Int 34:509–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Su GY, Liu XH, Gao ZS, Xian QM, Feng JF, Zhang XW, Giesy JP, Wei S, Liu HL, Yu HX (2012) Dietary intake of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from fish and meat by residents of Nanjing, China. Environ Int 42:138–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sun YX, Hao Q, Xu XR, Luo XJ, Wang SL, Zhang ZW, Mai BX (2014) Persistent organic pollutants in marine fish from Yongxing Island, South China Sea: levels, composition profiles and human dietary exposure assessment. Chemosphere 98:84–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. US Environmental Protection Agency (2000) Guidance for assessing chemical contaminant data for use in fish advisories: risk assessment and fish consumption limits, vol 2, 3rd edn. US Environmental Protection Agency, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  32. van den Berg H (2009) Global status of DDT and its alternatives for use in vector control to prevent disease. Environ Health Perspect 117:1656–1663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang YW, Jiang GB, Lam PKS, Li A (2007) Polybrominated diphenyl ether in the East Asian environment: a critical review. Environ Int 33:963–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang YW, Wang T, Li A, Fu JJ, Wang P, Zhang QH, Jiang GB (2008) Selection of bioindicators of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides in mollusks in the Chinese Bohai sea. Environ Sci Technol 42:7159–7165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang HS, Du J, Ho KL, Leung HM, Lam MHW, Giesy JP, Wong CKC, Wong MH (2011) Exposure of Hong Kong residents to PBDEs and their structural analogues through market fish consumption. J Hazard Mater 192:374–380Google Scholar
  36. Xing Y, Lu YL, Dawson RW, Shi YJ, Zhang H, Wang TY, Liu WB, Ren HC (2005) A spatial temporal assessment of pollution from PCBs in China. Chemosphere 60:731–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xuan FH, Zang SY (2011) Evaluation of risk associated with organchlorine pesticide contaminated sediment of the Lake Lianhuan watershed. Ecotoxicology 19:1238–1248Google Scholar
  38. Yu HY, Bao LJ, Liang Y, Zeng EY (2011) Field validation of anaerobic degradation pathways for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and 13 metabolites in marine sediment cores from China. Environ Sci Technol 45:5245–5252CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing Hao
    • 1
    • 5
  • Yu-Xin Sun
    • 1
  • Xiang-Rong Xu
    • 1
  • Zi-Wei Yao
    • 2
  • You-Shao Wang
    • 3
  • Zai-Wang Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiao-Jun Luo
    • 4
  • Bi-Xian Mai
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.National Marine Environmental Monitoring CenterDalianChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.Marine Fisheries Research Institute of ZhejiangZhejiangChina

Personalised recommendations