Enantiomer-specific accumulation of PCB atropisomers in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus). Academic Article uri icon


  • Blubber (n = 40) and liver (n = 20) samples from the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) were collected during the 1997-1998 Native (Inuit) subsistence harvests in Barrow, AK. Bowhead tissues and zooplankton were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations and the enantiomeric fractions (EFs) of eight chiral PCB congeners (PCB-91, 95, 135, 136, 149, 174, 176, and 183) to quantify the enantiomer-specific accumulation of PCBs in this cetacean. PCB concentrations in bowhead blubber were low (mean +/- 1 SE: 610 +/- 54 ng g(-1) lipid) relative to other cetaceans. The accumulation of several chiral PCBs (PCB-91, 135, 149, 174, 176, and 183) in bowhead blubber was enantiomer-specific relative to bowhead liver and zooplankton, suggesting that biotransformation processes within the bowhead whale are enantioselective. The EFs for PCB-95 and 149 were significantly correlated with body length in male and female whales, while EFs for PCB-91 correlated with length in males only. Despite evidence for enantioselective biotransformation, all three congeners bioaccumulated in the bowhead relative to PCB-153. Results suggest that enantioselective accumulation of PCB-91, 95, and 149 is influenced by PCB concentrations, age, and/or the modification of an uncharacterized stereoselective process (or processes) during sexual maturity.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Hoekstra, P. F., Wong, C. S., O'Hara, T. M., Solomon, K. R., Mabury, S. A., & Muir, D.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Hoekstra, Paul F||Wong, Charles S||O'Hara, Todd M||Solomon, Keith R||Mabury, Scott A||Muir, Derek CG

publication date

  • April 2002