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submitted on 06.08.2020 and posted on 07.08.2020by Lara Schultes, Carmen van Noordenburg, Kyra Spaan, Merle Plassmann, Malene Simon, Anna Roos, Jonathan Benskin
It is generally accepted that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
(PFASs) occur primarily in protein-rich tissues such as blood and liver, but few
studies have examined the occurrence of PFASs (in particular emerging PFASs),
in lipid-rich tissues such as blubber. Here we report the distribution of 24 PFASs,
total fluorine (TF) and extractable organic fluorine (EOF) in eight different
tissues of a killer whale (Orcinus orca)
from East Greenland. The sum of target PFAS concentrations was highest in liver
(352 ng/g ww) and decreased in the order blood > kidney ≈ lung ≈ ovary > skin
≈ muscle ≈ blubber. Most of the EOF was made up of known PFASs in all tissues
except blubber, which displayed the highest concentration of EOF, almost none
of which was attributed to targeted PFASs. Suspect screening using high-resolution
mass spectrometry revealed the presence of additional PFASs but the magnitude
of peak areas could not explain the high concentrations of EOF in blubber. While
the identity of this unknown organofluorine and its pervasiveness in marine
mammals requires further investigation, this work suggests that exposure of
killer whales to organofluorine substances may be underestimated by determination
of legacy PFASs exclusively in liver tissues.