Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 3414–3422 | Cite as

Accumulation pattern and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in liver tissues of seven species of birds from Ahmedabad, India, during 2005–2007

Research Article


Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured in liver tissues of seven species of birds collected from Ahmedabad, India during 2005–2007. All the samples collected were dead as victims of kite flying. Concentrations of ∑PAHs in livers of birds were ranged from 110 ± 32.6 ng/g wet wt (1,078 ± 320 lipid wt) in common myna Acridotheres tristis to 382 ± 90.1 ng/g (2,388 ± 563 lipid wt) in white-backed vulture. Statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in ∑PAHs were observed among species. However, year of collection and sex of birds did not show significant differences in concentrations of PAHs. The levels of ∑PAHs measured in the present study species were higher than the levels documented for a number of avian species and were lower than those reported to have deleterious effects on survival or reproduction of birds. Presence of PAH residues in birds of Ahmedabad city show the continuous input of PAHs through environmental exposure. Although no threat is posed by any of the hydrocarbons detected, continuous monitoring of breeding colonies of birds is recommended in unpolluted reference sites as well as polluted sites. It is also the first account of a comprehensive analysis of PAHs in various species of birds in India. Therefore, the values reported in this study can serve as baseline values for future research.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Liver Birds Environmental monitoring India 



I express my sincere gratitude to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Gujarat, and Mr. Ragul Sehgal, Coordinator, Animal Help Foundation (AHF), Ahmedabad, for their support in sample collection. I am also thankful to Dr. S. Muralidharan, Research Supervisor, for his support and guidance. Sàlim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, extended financial support. I appreciate Patturajan and Murugesan for their assistance in all laboratory works.


  1. Aas E, Beyeri J, Goksoyr A (2000) Fixed wavelength fluorescence (FF) of bile as a monitoring tool for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in fish: an evaluation of compound specificity, inner filter effect and signal interpretation. Biomarkers 5:9–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agarwal T, Khillare PS, Shridhar V, Ray S (2009) Pattern, sources and toxic potential of PAHs in the agricultural soils of Delhi, India. J Hazard Mater 163:1033–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albers PH (1983) Effects of oil on avian reproduction: a review and discussion. In: The effects of oil on birds. A multidiscipline symposium. Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, Pages 78–96Google Scholar
  4. Albers PH (2006) Birds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Avian Poult Biol Rev 17(4):125–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Albers PH, Loughlin TR (2003) Effects of PAHs on marine birds, mammals and reptiles. In: Douben PET (ed) PAHs: an ecotoxicological perspective. Wiley, Chichester, pp 243–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arcos JM, Ruiz X, Furness RW (2002) Mercury levels in seabirds and their fish prey at the Ebro Delta (NW Mediterranean): the role of trawler discards as a source of contamination. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 232:281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bordajandi LR, Gomez G, Abad E, Rivera E, Fernandez-Baston MM, Blasco J, Gonzalez MJ (2004) Survey of persistent organochlorine contaminants (PCBs, PCDD/Fs, and PAHs), heavy metals (Cu, Cd, Zn, Pb, and Hg), and arsenic in food samples from Huelva (Spain): levels and health implications. J Agric Food Chem 52:992–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Braune BM (2007) Temporal trends of organochlorines and mercury in seabird eggs from the Canadian Arctic, 1975–2003. Environ Pollut 148:599–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Briggs KT, Gershwin ME, Anderson DW (1997) Consequences of petrochemical ingestion and stress on the avian immune system. ICES J Mar Sci 54:718–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Custer TW, Custer CM, Hines RK, Sparks DW (2000) Trace elements, organochlorines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and furans in lesser scaup wintering on the Indiana Harbor Canal. Environ Pollut 110:469–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Custer TW, Custer CW, Dickerson K, Allen K, Melancon MJ, Schmidt LJ (2001) PAHs, aliphatic hydrocarbons, trace elements and monooxygenase activity in birds nesting on the North Platte Valley, Casper, Wyoming, USA. Environ Toxicol Chem 20:624–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Luca-Abbott SB, Wong BSF, Peakall DB, Lam PKS, Young L, Lam MHW, Richardson BJ (2001) Review of effects of water pollution on the breeding success of waterbirds, with particular reference to Arcdeids in Houng Hong. Ecotoxicology 10:327–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dhananjayan V (2009) Levels of organic contaminant and select biomarkers in the birds Gujarat and Tamil Nadu India. PhD Thesis Bharathiar University, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  14. Dhananjayan V, Muralidharan S (2010) Levels of organochlorine pesticide residues in blood plasma of various species of birds from India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 85:129–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dhananjayan V, Muralidharan S, Jayanthi P (2011a) Distribution of persistent organochlorine chemical residues in blood plasma of three species of vultures from India. Environ Monit Assess 1:03–811Google Scholar
  16. Dhananjayan V, Muralidharan S, Ranapratap S (2011b) Organochlorine pesticide residues in eggs and tissues of house sparrow, Passer domesticus, from Tamil Nadu, India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 87:684–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Douben PET (ed) (2003) PAHs: an ecotoxicological perspective. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  18. Elliott JE, Shutt L (1993) Monitoring organochlorines in blood of sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus) migrating through the Great Lakes. Environ Toxicol Chem 12:241–250Google Scholar
  19. Guzzella L, Roscioli C, Viganò L, Saha M, Sarkar SK, Bhattacharya A (2005) Evaluation of the concentration of HCH, DDT, HCB, PCB and PAH in the sediments along the lower stretch of Hugli estuary, West Bengal, northeast India. Environ Int 31:523–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hall RJ, Coon NC (1988) Interpreting residues of petroleum hydrocarbons in wildlife tissues. Bio Rep 88(15):8, By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoffman DJ, Gay ML (1981) Embryonic effects of benzo[a]pyrene, chrysene, and 7,12- dimethylbenz[a]anthracene in petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures in mallard ducks. J Toxicol Environ Health 7:775–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hough JL, Baired MB, Sfei GT, Pacini CS, Darrow D, Wheelock C (1993) Benzo(a)pyrene enhances atherosclerosis in White Carneau and Show Racer pigeons. Arterioscler Thromb 13:1721–1727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kannan K, Perrotta E (2008) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in livers of California sea otters. Chemosphere 7:649–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kayal S, Connel DW (1995) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in biota from the Brisbane River Estuary, Australia. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci 40:475–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Laffon B, Fraga-Iriso R, Perez-Cadahia B, Mendez J (2006) Genotoxicity associated to exposure to Prestige oil during autopsies and cleaning of oil-contaminated birds. Food Chem Toxicol 44:1714–1723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lebedev AT, Poliakovaa OV, Karakhanovaa NK, Petrosyana VS, Renzoni A (1998) The contamination of birds with organic pollutants in the Lake Baikal region. Sci Total Environ 212:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leighton FA (1991) The toxicity of petroleum oils to birds: an overview. In: White J, Frink L (eds) The effects of oil in wildlife: research, rehabilitation and general concerns. Sheridan, HanoverGoogle Scholar
  28. Malcolm HM, Shore RF (2003) Effects of PAHs on terrestrial and freshwater birds, mammals and amphibians. In: Douben PET (ed) PAHs: An ecotoxicological perspective. Wiley, Chichester, pp 225–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malik A, Ojha P, Singh KP (2008) Distribution of polychlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons in edible fish from Gomati River, India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 80:134–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Marsili L, Caruso A, Cristina Fossi M, Manardelli M, Politi E, Focardi S (2001) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in subcutaneous biopsies of mediterranean cetaceans. Chemosphere 44:147–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Masih J, Masih A, Kulshrestha A, Singhvi R, Taneja A (2010) Characteristics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in indoor and outdoor atmosphere in the North central part of India. J Hazard Mater 177:190–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meador JP, Stein JE, Reichert WL (1995) Bioaccumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by marine organisms. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 143:79–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Moon HB, An YR, Choi SG, Choi M, Choi HG (2012) Accumulation of PAHs and synthetic musk compound in minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and long–beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) from Korean coastal waters. Environ Toxicol Chem 31:477–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Naf C, Broman D, Brunstrom B (1992) Distribution and metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) injected into eggs of chicken (Gallus domesticus) and common edier duck (Somateria mollissima). Environ Toxicol Chem 11:1653–1660Google Scholar
  35. Nakata H, Sakai Y, Miyawaki T, Takemura A (2003) Bioaccumulation and toxic potencies of polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in tidal flat and coastal ecosystems of the Ariake Sea, Japan. Environ Sci Technol 37:3513–3521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Oxynos K, Schmitzer J, Kettrup A (1993) Herring gull eggs as bioindicators for chlorinated hydrocarbons (contribution to the German Federal Environmental Specimen Bank). Sci Total Environ 139(140):387–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Payne JF, Mathiew A, Collier TK (2003) Ecotoxicological studies focusing on marine and freshwater fish. In: Douben PET (ed) PAHs: an ecotoxicological perspective. Wiley, UKGoogle Scholar
  38. Pereira MG, Walker LA, Wright J, Best J, Shore RF (2008) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in eggs from gannets, golden eagles and merlins. Organohalogen Compounds 70:166–169Google Scholar
  39. Pereira MG, Walker LA, Wright J, Best J, Shore RF (2009) Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the eggs of predatory birds in Britain. Environ Sci Technol 43(23):9010–9015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Perez C, Velando A, Munilla I, Lopez-Alonso M, Oro D (2008) Monitoring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollution in the marine environment after the Prestige oil spill. Environ Sci Technol 42:707–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ramirez P (1997) Environmental contaminants in the aquatic bird food chain of an Oil refinery wastewater pond. U.S. Fish and wildlife service, Region 6, Environmental Contaminants Report. pp. 1–15Google Scholar
  42. Roscales JL, González-Solís J, Calabuig P, Jiménez B (2011) Interspecies and spatial trends in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Atlantic and Mediterranean pelagic seabirds. Environ Pollut 159:2899–2905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shore RF, Wright J, Horne JA, Sparks TH (1999) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) residues in the eggs of coastal-nesting birds from Britain. Mar Pollut Bull 38:509–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Soriano JA, Viñas L, Franco MA, González JJ, Ortiz L, Bayona JM, Albaigés J (2006) Spatial and temporal trends of petroleum hydrocarbons in wild mussels from the Galician coast (NW Spain) affected by the Prestige oil spill. Sci Total Environ 370:80–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stronkhorst J, Ysebaert TJ, Smedes F, Meininger PL, Dirksen S (1993) Contaminants in eggs of some waterbird species from the Scheldt Estuary, SW Netherlands. Mar Pollut Bull 26:572–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Struger J, Weseloh DV (1985) Great lakes Caspian terns: egg contaminants and biological implications. Colonial Water Birds 8:142–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tanabe S, Senthilkumar K, Kannan K, Subramanian AN (1998) Accumulation features of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in resident and migratory birds from South India. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 57:8–15Google Scholar
  48. Taniquchi S, Montone RC, Bicego MC, Colabuono FI, Weber RR, Sericano JL (2009) Chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the fat tissue of seabirds from King George Island, Antarctica. Mar Pollut Bull 58:129–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tripathi R, Kumar R, Mudiam MKR, Patel DK, Behari JR (2009) Distribution, sources and characterization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the sediment of the River Gomti, Lucknow, India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 83:449–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Troisi GM, Bexton S, Robinson I (2006) Polyaromatic hydrocarbon and PAH metabolite burdens in oiled common guillemots (Uria aalgae) stranded on the east coast of England (2001–2002). Environ Sci Technol 40:7938–7943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Troisi G, Borjessona L, Bextonb S, Robinsonc I (2007) Biomarkers of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-associated hemolytic anemia in oiled wildlife. Environ Res 105:324–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Van Metre PC, Mahler BJ, Furlong ET (2000) Urban sprawl leaves its PAH signature. Environ Sci Technol 34:4064–4070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vidal M, Domínguez J, Luís A (2011) Spatial and temporal patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in eggs of a coastal bird from northwestern Iberia after a major oil spill. Sci Total Environ 409:2668–2673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wienburg CL, Shore RF (2004) Factors influencing liver PCB concentrations in sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus), kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and herons (Ardea cinerea) in Britain. Environ Pollut 132:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sàlim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology DivisionRegional Occupational Health Centre (Southern), ICMRDevanahalli TKIndia

Personalised recommendations