Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in the antarctic environment

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Title: Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in the antarctic environment
Author: Yogui, Gilvan Takeshi
Abstract: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs ) are anthropogenic chemicals whose environmental behavior is similar to the well -known polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs ) . Few studies have quantified the amount and distribution of PBDEs in the southern hemisphere and Antarctica . The analyses reported in this dissertation document the levels of PBDEs in lichens , mosses and seabird eggs collected at King George Island , Antarctic Peninsula . The analyses were carried out using Gas Chromatography /Electron Impact -Mass Spectrometry (GC /EI -MS ) . Employing the ion stacking technique lowered detection limits and ensured instrument selectivity and sensitivity to the compounds of interest . Lichens and mosses absorb PBDEs directly from the atmosphere and their contamination indicates that long -range transport is the primary source of these chemicals to King George Island . The congener patterns of PBDEs in plants indicate that commercial mixtures of Penta -BDE and Octa -BDE have reached Antarctica . Differences in the levels of PBDEs observed in lichens and mosses are probably due to factors that govern the uptake of PBDEs from the atmosphere . Contamination in lichens showed a positive correlation with local precipitation . Conversely , absorption of PBDEs in mosses appears to be controlled by other plant -specific factors . Marine phytoplankton -derived aerosols are hypothesized to play an important role in the atmospheric transport of PBDEs to the Antarctic environment . PBDEs in south polar skua eggs revealed much higher concentration than in penguin eggs . This is likely associated with the northward migration of these seabirds during the non -breeding season . While penguins reside year -round in Antarctica , south polar skuas migrate northward and can be seen in boreal oceans during the austral winter . Distribution of PBDEs in penguin eggs matches the pattern found in local vegetation suggesting a common source for the chemicals . In contrast , the congener pattern of south polar skuas suggests that birds breeding at King George Island are wintering in the northwestern Pacific Ocean . A potential metabolism of PBDEs in penguin eggs during the incubation period seems to be limited . Most congeners were unaltered from source material in the eggs of chinstrap and gentoo penguins . Low levels of PBDEs , short incubation periods and energy constraints may explain these observations .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3032
Date: 2009-05-15

Citation

Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in the antarctic environment. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -3032 .

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