Metamorphosis increases biotransformation of polychlorinated biphenyls: A comparative study of polychlorinated biphenyl metabolism in green frogs (Rana clamitans) and leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) at various life stages



Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) elimination rates were used to determine whether green frogs (Rana clamitans) and leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) at three life stages (tadpole, metamorph, and adult) were capable of metabolic biotransformation of PCBs. Polychlorinated biphenyls were grouped according to their structural properties to determine whether congeners with specific structures were eliminated more rapidly than others, which would suggest the occurrence of metabolic biotransformation. For both species and at all life stages studied, PCBs with adjacent unsubstituted meta-para sites (group-2 PCBs) were eliminated significantly faster than PCBs with adjacent unsubstituted ortho-meta sites (group-3 PCBs). Because these groups of PCBs span similar hydrophobicity ranges, it was concluded that green and leopard frogs can selectively metabolize group-2 PCBs. Metabolic activity was more pronounced in the metamorph stage than in any other life stage. In green frog metamorphs, the average elimination rate of the group-2 PCBs was 4.9-fold greater than that of the group-3 PCBs. By contrast, in green frog tadpoles, group-2 PCBs were eliminated 1.9-fold faster than group-3 PCBs, and in green frog adults, group-2 PCBs were eliminated 1.5-fold faster than group-3 PCBs.