Brominated Indoles and Phenols in Marine Sediment and Water Extracts from the North and Baltic Seas–Concentrations and Effects

  • N. Reineke
  • S. Biselli
  • S. Franke
  • W. Francke
  • N. Heinzel
  • H. Hühnerfuss
  • H. Iznaguen
  • U. Kammann
  • N. Theobald
  • M. Vobach
  • W. Wosniok


This work presents results from analytical as well as ecotoxicologic investigations of sediment and water samples from the North and Baltic Seas. A bioassay-directed procedure was used to investigate cause–effect relationships between observed effects in acute laboratory bioassays (luminescent bacteria assay with Vibrio fischeri and embryo test with Danio rerio) and analyte concentrations in extracted samples. Brominated phenols and indoles—including 4-bromophenol; 2,4-dibromophenol; 4- and 6-bromoindole; 3,4-, 4,6-, and 3,6-dibromoindole; and tribrominated compounds—were identified in partly remarkable concentrations (up to 40,000 ng g−1 total organic carbon TOC for 4-bromophenol) in North Sea sediment samples and water samples (913 ng L−1 3,6-dibromoindole) from the German Bight. The toxicity of some of the identified brominated substances was low, with median effect concentration levels (EC50) ranging from 0.08 to 21.7 mg/L for V. fischeri and 4.3 to 46.3 mg/L for D. rerio. Comparison of the concentrations of analytes with ECs showed a toxicity contribution of brominated phenols and indoles to overall toxicity of the fraction. In the case of one water sample from the German Bight, brominated phenols and indoles accounted for the observed toxicity. Brominated phenols and indoles, which are assumed to be of biogenic origin, have rarely been discussed so far in the context of ecotoxicologic effects in marine ecosystems.


Total Organic Carbon German Bight Sediment Extract Luminescent Bacterium Bacterial Luminescence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank G. Schüürmann for interesting and helpful discussions about the potential modes of actions of the compounds investigated herein. In addition, we thank M. Scheurell for help with the luminescent bacteria tests and M. Trenk for caring for the breeding stocks of D. rerio. Advice from F. Hoffmann and H. Schmitt regarding the manuscript is highly appreciated. This study was supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Grant No. 03F0271).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Reineke
    • 1
  • S. Biselli
    • 2
  • S. Franke
    • 1
  • W. Francke
    • 1
  • N. Heinzel
    • 1
  • H. Hühnerfuss
    • 1
  • H. Iznaguen
    • 1
  • U. Kammann
    • 3
  • N. Theobald
    • 2
  • M. Vobach
    • 3
  • W. Wosniok
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Organic ChemistryUniversity of HamburgGermany
  2. 2.Federal Maritime and Hydrographic AgencyGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Fishery EcologyFederal Research Centre for FisheriesGermany
  4. 4.Institute of StatisticsUniversity of BremenGermany

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