Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1460–1468 | Cite as

Brominated phenols, anisoles, and dioxins present in blue mussels from the Swedish coastline

  • Karin Löfstrand
  • Anna Malmvärn
  • Peter Haglund
  • Anders Bignert
  • Åke Bergman
  • Lillemor Asplund
Research Article



Naturally occurring hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (OH-PBDEs), their methoxylated counterparts (MeO-PBDEs), and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PBDDs), together with their potential precursors polybrominated phenols (PBPs) and polybrominated anisoles (PBAs), were analyzed in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) gathered along the east coast (bordering the Baltic Sea) and west coast of Sweden (bordering the North Sea). Brown algae (Dictyosiphon foenicolaceus) and cyanobacteria (Nodularia spumigena) from the Baltic Sea, considered to be among the primary producers of these compounds, were also analyzed for comparison.

Materials and methods

The samples were liquid–liquid extracted, separated into a phenolic and a neutral fraction, and subsequently analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GS-MS).

Results and discussion

The levels of OH-PBDEs, MeO-PBDEs and PBDDs were significantly higher in Baltic Sea mussels than in those from the west coast, whereas the levels of PBPs and PBAs displayed the opposite pattern. The blue mussels from the Baltic Sea contained high levels of all analyzed substances, much higher than the levels of, e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers. In addition, the GC-MS chromatogram of the phenolic fraction of the west coast samples was dominated by four unknown peak clusters, three of which were tentatively identified as dihydroxy-PBDEs and the other as a hydroxylated-methyl-tetraBDE.


Clearly, all of the compounds analyzed are natural products, both in the Baltic and the North Sea. However, the geographical differences in composition may indicate different origin, e.g., due to differences in the occurrence and/or abundance of various algae species along these two coasts or possibly a more extensive dilution on the west coast.


OH-PBDE MeO-PBDE PBDD Polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins Natural formation 



We would like to thank Ioannis Athanassiadis and Kristina Arnoldsson for performing the GC-MS analyses, Mats Hjelmberg and Henrik Dahlgren for sample preparation, and the Swedish Environmental Monitoring Program on Contaminants, financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for financial support.

Supplementary material

11356_2010_331_MOESM1_ESM.doc (556 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 555 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Löfstrand
    • 1
  • Anna Malmvärn
    • 2
  • Peter Haglund
    • 3
  • Anders Bignert
    • 4
  • Åke Bergman
    • 1
  • Lillemor Asplund
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry UnitStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  4. 4.Department of Contaminant Research, the Swedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden

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