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Keywords:

  • Bioaccumulation;
  • PCB congeners;
  • Mytilus edulis;
  • Bioconcentration factors;
  • Kow

Abstract

Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) were deployed to monitor the levels of bioavailable contaminants during a pilot dredging project in New Bedford Harbor (NBH), Massachusetts. Dissolved and particulate seawater samples also were collected periodically during these deployments. Poly-chlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener concentrations in both mussel tissue and seawater samples were among the quantified contaminants. Large differences in the dissolved and particulate PCB concentrations in seawater and tissue residue concentrations in mussels were observed along a gradient from the upper harbor to Buzzards Bay. Bioconcentration factors (BCFs) were calculated for six PCB congeners at two stations in NBH and a reference site in Buzzards Bay. Equations were generated relating the log BCF to the log octanol/water partition coefficient (Kow) for these congeners. A consistent relationship was found between dissolved PCB congener concentrations and tissue concentrations in the mussels. This study demonstrates the utility of the blue mussel as a monitoring organism for quantifying bioavailable contaminants in seawater and for relating PCB tissue residues with seawater concentrations.