Brominated dioxins (PBDD/Fs) and PBDEs in marine shellfish in the UK

Alwyn Fernandes, David Mortimer, Martin Gem, Pamela Dicks, Frankie Smith, Shaun White, Martin Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The occurrence of brominated dioxins (PBDD/Fs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) was investigated in commonly consumed species of marine shellfish in the UK. Individual samples of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas), native oysters (Ostrea edulis), mussels (Mytilus edulis), scallops (Pecten maximus), and cockles (Cerastoderma edule) were collected from different coastal regions between 2006 and 2007. Samples of a particular species from each site were composited and 60 samples were analysed. Polybrominated dibenzofurans (PBDFs) occurred more frequently and generally at a higher level than polybrominated dibenzodioxins (PBDDs), except for 237-TriBDD, which was the predominant PBDD/F congener in some species, notably oysters. This profile may reflect the environmental distribution of these compounds and the effects of removal mechanisms, such as degradation, selective uptake and metabolism. PBDEs were detected in all samples. The dominant congeners were BDEs 47, 49, 99 and 100 and, to a lesser extent, BDEs 66 and 154. The occurrence of BDE-209 was observed in most samples and appears to be species selective, with the highest values occurring almost exclusively in mussels and cockles. Among the species studied, oysters and mussels displayed relatively higher levels of both sets of contaminants; native oysters, in particular, showed elevated levels of 237-TriBDD (up to 14.5 ng/kg). In general, contaminant levels appeared to be consistent with the extent of local industrialisation with lower levels observed in more remote areas such as the north of Scotland. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) were also measured, and PBBs 49, 52 and 77 were the most frequently detected, although levels were very low. Dietary intakes, estimated for PBDD/Fs, showed that 237-TriBDD from single portions of oysters constituted a high proportion of the total dietary intake of the congener but, otherwise, dietary intakes of PBDD/Fs from shellfish were relatively low.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)918-927
Number of pages10
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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