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Determination of polychlorinated biphenyls in honeybee, pollen, and honey samples from urban and semi-urban areas in Turkey

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In recent years, honeybees and bee products such as pollen and honey have been used as bioindicators for monitoring environmental pollution. Unfortunately, there are few studies about polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in honeybees and bee products from Turkey. Honeybee and pollen samples were taken between May and September 2017, and honey samples were taken between July and September 2017 at urban and semi-urban areas in Bursa (Turkey). PCB concentrations measured by gas chromatography-microelectron capture detector (GC-μECD) were found to be 135.46 ± 6.53, 81.47 ± 23.52, and 106.35 ± 21.60 ng g−1 dry weight (dw) for honeybee, pollen, and honey samples in the urban area, respectively; and 126.35 ± 26.54, 67.57 ± 27.34, and 118.88 ± 55.28 ng g−1 dw for honeybee, pollen, and honey samples in the semi-urban area, respectively. Pearson correlation was made between meteorological parameters and pollutant concentrations. According to the correlation results, a significant relationship was found between the pollen and honey results and the total cloudiness and temperature in the semi-urban area. The coefficient of divergence (COD) and Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) methods were applied to determine the similarities and differences between the pollutant concentrations and sources of the two areas and the temporal variation. According to these two methods, PCB concentrations and emission sources in honeybee and pollen samples in urban and semi-urban areas were generally different in May and June, and similar in August and September.

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We would like to thank Dr. M. Ertan GUNES for his help during the sampling section.


This study was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK Project No: 116Y208).

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Correspondence to Fatma Esen.

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Sari, M.F., Gurkan Ayyildiz, E. & Esen, F. Determination of polychlorinated biphenyls in honeybee, pollen, and honey samples from urban and semi-urban areas in Turkey. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 4414–4422 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-07013-w

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  • Biomonitoring
  • PCB
  • Honeybee
  • Bee products
  • COD
  • Meteorological parameters