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Evidences of butyltins biomagnification along the Northern Adriatic food-web (Mediterranean Sea) elucidated by stable isotopes ratios

March 15, 2013

The biomagnification of tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT), monobutyltin (MBT) and total butyltins (ΣBT) was analyzed in the Northern Adriatic food-web (Mediterranean) considering trophodynamic interactions among species and carbon sources in the food-web. Although it is acknowledged that these contaminants bioaccumulate in marine organisms, it is still controversial whether they biomagnify along food-webs. A wide range of species was considered, from plankton feeders to top predators, whose trophic level (TL) was assessed measuring the biological enrichment of nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N). Carbon isotopic signature (δ13C) was used to trace carbon sources in the food-web (terrestrial vs. marine). At least one butyltin species was detected in the majority of samples, and TBT was the predominant contaminant. A significant positive relationship was found between TL and butyltins’ concentration, implying food-web biomagnification. Coherently, the Trophic Magnification Factor resulted higher than 1, ranging between 3.88 for ΣBT and 4.62 for DBT. A negative but not significant correlation was instead found between δ13C and butyltins concentrations, indicating a slight decreasing gradient of contaminants concentrations in species according to the coastal influence as carbon source in their diet. However, trophodynamic mechanisms are likely more important factors in determining butyltins’ distribution in the Northern Adriatic food-web.

Fortibuoni T, Noventa S, Rampazzo F, Gion C., et al., in press. Evidences of butyltins biomagnification along the Northern Adriatic food-web (Mediterranean Sea) elucidated by stable isotopes ratios, Environmental Science and Techonology, 2013. doi:10.1021/es304875b. Article.

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