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Food web on ice: A pragmatic approach to investigate the trophic magnification of chemicals of concern

: Kosfeld, V.; Rüdel, H.; Schlechtriem, C.; Rauert, C.; Koschorreck, J.

Volltext ()

Environmental Sciences Europe : ESEU 33 (2021), Nr.1, Art. 93, 20 S.
ISSN: 2190-4715
ISSN: 2190-4707
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IME ()

Background. The trophic magnification factor (TMF) is a metric that describes the average trophic magnification of a chemical through a food web. TMFs may be used for the risk assessment of chemicals, although TMFs for single compounds can vary considerably between studies despite thorough guidance available in the literature to eliminate potential sources of error. The practical realization of a TMF investigation is quite complex and often only a few chemicals can be investigated due to low sample masses. This study evaluated whether a pragmatic approach involving the large-scale cryogenic sample preparation practices of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) is feasible. This approach could provide sufficient sample masses for a reduced set of samples allowing screenings for a broad spectrum of substances and by that enabling a systematic comparison of derived TMFs. Furthermore, it was assessed whether plausible TMFs can be derived with the ‘Food web on ice’ approach via a comparison with literature TMF values. Results. This investigation at Lake Templin near Potsdam is the first TMF study for a German freshwater ecosystem and aimed to derive TMFs that are appropriate for regulatory purposes. A set of 15 composite biota samples was obtained and analyzed for an extended set of benchmark chemicals such as persistent organic pollutants, mercury and perfluoroalkyl substances. TMFs were calculated for all substances that were present in > 80% of the biota samples. For example, in the case of polychlorinated biphenyls, TMFs from 1.7 to 2.5 were determined and comparisons to literature TMFs determined in other freshwater ecosystems showed similarities. We showed that 32 out of 35 compounds analyzed had TMFs significantly above 1. In the remaining three cases, the correlations were not statistically significant. Conclusions. The derived food web samples allow for an on-demand analysis and are ready-to-use for additional investigations. Since substances with non-lipophilic accumulation properties were also included in the list of analyzed substances, we conclude that the 'Food web on ice' provides samples which could be used to characterize the trophic magnification potential of substances with unknown bioaccumulation properties in the future which in return could be compared directly to the benchmarking patterns provided here.