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Polyfluoroalkyl compounds in the marine environment – Investigations on their distribution in surface water and temporal trends in harbor seals (phoca vitulina)

  • Recently polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) were discovered as emerging persistentorganic pollutants. Because of their unique physicochemical properties due to theircombination of lipophilic and hydrophilic characteristics, PFCs have been widely used inmany consumer products, such as polymerisation aids, stain repellents on carpets, textiles, andpaper products for over 50 years. From the production and use of these products, PFCs can bereleased into the environment. Scientific concern about PFCs increased due to their globaldistribution and ubiquitous detection in the environment, especially in marine mammals.An analytical protocol was developed for the analysis of PFCs in water samples andvarious biological matrices. The samples were analysed for 40 PFCs plus 20 isotope-labelledinternal standards using high performance liquid chromatography/negative electrosprayionisation-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/(-)ESI-MS/MS). Furthermore, the analyticalquality of the laboratory has been approved in interlaboratory studies.In the first part of this Ph.D. thesis was investigated the occurrence, distribution patternand transportation mechanisms of PFCs in seawater. The rivers had a high influence on thedistribution of PFCs in offshore surface water in the German Bight, with decreasingconcentrations with increasing distance from the coast (see publication I). The research onthe spatial distribution of PFCs in coastal area is very important for the understanding of thetransportation and fate of PFCs in the marine environment. Furthermore, the longitudinal andlatitudinal distribution of PFCs in surface water of the Atlantic Ocean was investigated (seepublication II). The results indicate that trans-Atlantic Ocean currents caused the decreasingconcentration gradient from the Bay of Biscay to the South Atlantic Ocean and theconcentration drop-off close to the Labrador Sea. These data are very useful for globaltransportation models, in which industrial areas are considered as sources, and ocean watersas sinks of PFCs.The second part of this Ph.D. thesis examined the mechanisms and pathways of PFCs inharbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and their temporal trends in the German Bight. Firstly, thewhole body burden of PFCs and their tissue distribution (i.e., liver, kidney, lung, heart, blood,brain, muscle, thyroid, thymus, and blubber) was investigated in harbor seals (seepublication III). This study is relevant for calculation of the bioaccumulation potential ofthese compounds in marine mammals. Secondly, the temporal trends over the last decade andassociations between PFC concentration and the evidence of diseases, spatial distribution, ageand sex were evaluated in archived harbor seal livers (see publication IV). The results showsignificant declining concentrations of many PFCs indicating the replacement of these PFCsby shorter chained and less bioaccumulative compounds.Several studies were performed besides the main issue of the Ph.D. work. Firstly, watersamples were collected along the river Elbe into the North Sea to examine the distribution ofPFCs in the dissolved and particulate phase, their discharge into the North Sea, and theinfluence of waste water treatment plant effluents to the riverine mass flow. Furthermore,surface water samples were collected in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Norwegian Sea, wherethe occurrence and spatial distribution between river estuaries, coastal waters, in brackish aswell as salt water, and open sea water were compared. Finally, within the frame of a researchstay at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan,the partitioning behaviour of PFCs between pore water and sediment in two sediment coresfrom Tokyo Bay was investigated.This Ph.D. thesis has improved our knowledge of the occurrence and distribution of PFCsin water and biota highlighting association between PFCs and pathological conditions,potential sources and sinks, spatial distribution, and changes in their pattern and long-termperspective trends.

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Author:Lutz Ahrens
URL: https://pub-data.leuphana.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/419
Title Additional (German):Polyfluorierte Alkylverbindungen in der marinen Umwelt - Untersuchung zur Verteilung im Wasser und zeitlichen Trends in Seehunden (phoca vitulina)
Referee:Wolfgang K. L. Ruck (Prof. Dr. Ing.)ORCiDGND, Ralf Ebinghaus
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2009
Date of Publication (online):2010/01/12
Publishing Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Universitätsbibliothek der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Granting Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Fak 3 - Umwelt und Technik (alt)
Date of final exam:2009/09/01
Release Date:2010/01/12
emerging pollutants; spatial distribution; temporal trends
GND Keyword:Schadstoff; Räumliche Verteilung
Institutes:Fak 3 - Umwelt und Technik (alt) / Chemie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie / 540 Chemie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht