Uptake and depuration of organic contaminants by blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) exposed to environmentally contaminated sediment

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Experiments were designed to expose blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) to contaminated sediment collected from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, USA in 1982. Measurements were taken to allow comparisons of the uptake and depuration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In addition, concentration factors in the mussels were calculated separately against the dissolved and particulate phase concentrations and the results from the exposure and control systems were compared. Both PAHs and PCBs were rapidly accumulated by the mussels exposed to the contaminated sediment. After the mussels were transferred to control seawater, individual PAHs were depurated with half-lives ranging from 12 to 30 d. Individual PCBs showed depuration half-lives which ranged from 16 to 46 d. Concentration factors in the mussels calculated against the particulate phase concentrations were very different in the exposure and control systems. Concentration factors calculated using only the dissolved phase concentrations (bioconcentration factors) showed excellent agreement in the two systems, possibly an indication that the dissolved phase was the direct source of the contaminants accumulated by the mussels. The bioconcentration factors for PCBs were higher than those of PAHs when compounds with similar n-octanol/water partition coefficients were compared. © 1986 Springer-Verlag.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Biology