John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas Rafinesque) exposure to three NBFRs in outdoor mesocosms: Bioaccumulation and biotransformation

The phase‐out of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) has prompted the search for appropriate substitutes. These substitutes, referred to as novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), are poorly characterized in terms of their persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity. In this study we assessed the bioaccumulation potential of three non‐PBDE brominated flame retardants: 1,2‐bis(2,4,6‐tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE), tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3‐dibromopropylether) (TBBPA‐BDBPE), and BZ‐54, a mixture of bis(2‐ethylhexyl)tetrabromophthalate) (BEH‐TEBP), and 2‐ethylhexyl‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromobenzoate (EH‐TBB). Replicate outdoor aquatic mesocosms were treated individually at concentrations designed to give a maximum load of 500 ng/g of flame retardant in the upper 5 cm of the sediment. Caged fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas, 24 fish per replicate) were introduced to each mesocosm and acclimated for 10 d prior to exposure. The exposure period was 42 d followed by 28 d of depuration after transfer to a control mesocosm, during which physical, reproductive, and biochemical endpoints were examined. Tissue samples were taken to measure the accumulation, depuration, and biotransformation of the NBFRs. The fathead minnows were observed to accumulate, after growth adjustment, BTBPE (16 to 4,203 ng/g lipid) and TBBPA‐BDBPE (>1,000 ng/g lipid), but with a lack of consistent accumulation observed for EH‐TBB and BEH‐TEBP. However there were limited biologically meaningful or consistent responses observed in the monitored physical, reproductive, and biochemical parameters. Fathead minnows from each treatment exhibited several brominated transformation products. We conclude that these NBFRs have the potential to be bioaccumulative and persistent in vivo, and therefore warrant further study of physiological effects linked to chronic, sub‐lethal responses. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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