Bioaccumulation of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in a tropical estuarine food web

Abstract The biomagnification of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) was investigated in a tropical mangrove food web from an estuary in Bahia, Brazil. Samples of 44 organisms (21 taxa), along with biofilm, leaves, sediment and suspended particulate matter were analyzed. Sum (∑) PFAS concentrations in biota samples were dominated by perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, 93% detection frequency in tissues; 0.05 to 1.97 ng g⁻¹ ww whole-body (wb)), followed by perfluorotridecanoate (PFTrDA, 57%; 0.01 to 0.28 ng g⁻¹ ww wb). PFOS precursors such as perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA, 54%; 0.01 to 0.32 ng g⁻¹ ww wb) and N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamide (EtFOSA; 30%; 0.01 to 0.21 ng g⁻¹ ww wb) were also detected. PFAS accumulation profiles revealed different routes of exposure among bivalve, crustacean and fish groups. Statistics for left-censored data were used in order to minimize bias on trophic magnification factors (TMFs) calculations. TMFs >1 were observed for PFOS (linear + branched isomers), EtFOSA (linear + branched isomers), and perfluorononanoate (PFNA), and in all cases, dissimilar accumulation patterns were observed among different trophic positions. The apparent biodilution of some long-chain PFCAs through the food chain (TMF < 1) may be due to exposure from multiple PFAS sources. This is the first study investigating bioaccumulation of PFASs in a tropical food web and provides new insight on the behavior of this ubiquitous class of contaminants.

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