, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 523-528

Determination of the DDE and PCB contents of peregrine Falcon eggs: A comparison of whole egg measurements and estimates derived from eggshell membranes

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Abstract

A method using eggshell membranes to determine egg content levels of DDE and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), two of the most ubiquitous environmental contaminants, has been validated. A comparison was made between the residue levels determined from the egg contents of 40 Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) eggs and from hexanesoluble extracts of the dried eggshell membranes. The results confirm the use of museum eggshells for estimations of DDE and PCB levels of the original egg contents. This method should be valid for other lipophilic compounds. The data generated are of use not only to determine the records of past contamination, but may be expected to provide useful information on patterns of contamination encountered in different geographical areas. The membrane extraction technique allows pollutant levels to be measured without removing viable material from endangered species.