Partitioning and bioaccumulation of PBDEs and PCBs in Lake Michigan

Summer S. Streets, Scott A. Henderson, Amber D. Stoner, Daniel L. Carlson, Matt Simcik, Deborah L. Swackhamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Water from Lake Michigan and fish from all five Great Lakes have been sampled and analyzed for a suite of six polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners and 110 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs). The Lake Michigan dissolved phase PBDE congener concentrations (0.2 to 10 pg/L) are similar to dissolved phase PCB congener concentrations (nondetected to 13 pg/L). Partitioning of PBDEs between the participate and dissolved phases exhibits behavior similar to that of PCBs. Organic-carbon-normalized water - particle partition coefficients (log KOCs) ranged from 6.2 to 6.5. Lake trout are depleted in BDE-99 relative to dissolved phase concentrations, and in contrast to what is expected from the PCB congener patterns. This reflects suspected debromination of BDE-99 in the food web of Lake Michigan. A regression of the log of the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) and the log of the octanol - water partition coefficent (KOW) indicated a positive relationship for both PCB congeners and PBDE congeners. BDE-99 does not appear to follow the same trend, a further indication that it is subject to biotransformation. Using the PBDE BAFs for Lake Michigan and the PBDE fish concentrations from the other Great Lakes it is expected that the dissolved phase concentrations of congeners in the other lakes would range from 0.04 to approximately 3 pg/ L.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7263-7269
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


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