Skip to main content

Benthic Bioaccumulation and Bioavailability of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers from Surficial Lake Ontario Sediments Near Rochester, New York, USA


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Lake Ontario watershed sediments were assessed for benthic bioavailability through the use of biota-sediment accumulation factors. Sediments from lake and Rochester Harbor (lower Genesee River) areas were investigated. Congeners 47, 66, 85, 99 and 100 were detected in tissues of the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus. Biota-sediment accumulation factors ranged from 3.95 (congener 154) to 19.5 (congener 28) and were higher at the Lake Ontario area. The lower biota-sediment accumulation factors for the Rochester Harbor sediment may result from a higher fraction of black carbon generally expected in highly urbanized rivers. Degree of bromination may reduce bioavailability.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Ciparis S, Hale RC (2005) Bioavailability of polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in biosolids and spiked sediment to the aquatic oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus. Environ Toxicol Chem 24:916–925

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Evandri MG, Costa LG, Bolle P (2003) Evaluation of brominated diphenyl ether-99 toxicity with Raphidocelis subcapitata and Daphnia magna. Environ Toxicol Chem 22:2167–2172

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ferguson PL, Chandler GT, Templeton RC, Demarco A, Scrivens WA, Englehart BA (2008) Influence of sediment-amendment with single-walled carbon nanotubes and diesel soot on bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic contaminants by benthic invertebrates. Environ Sci Technol 42:3879–3885

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Key PB, Hoguet J, Chung KW, Venturella JJ, Pennington PL, Fulton MH (2009) Lethal and sublethal effects of simvastatin, irgarol, and PBDE-47 on the estuarine fish, Fundulus heteroclitus. J Environ Sci Health Part B Pestic Food Contam Agric Waste 44:379–382

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Law K, Halldorson T, Danell R, Stern G, Gewurtz S, Alaee M, Marvin C, Whittle M, Tomy G (2006) Bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of some brominated flame retardants in a Lake Winnipeg (Canada) food web. Environ Toxicol Chem 25:2177–2186

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Leppanen MT, Kukkonen JVK (2004) Toxicokinetics of sediment-associated polybrominated diphenylethers (flame retardants) in benthic invertebrates (Lumbriculus variegatus, Oligochaeta). Environ Toxicol Chem 23:166–172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Lyytikainen M, Hirva P, Minkkinen P, Hamalainen H, Rantalainen AL, Mikkelson P, Paasivirta J, Kukkonen JVK (2003) Bioavailability of sediment-associated PCDD/Fs and PCDEs: relative importance of contaminant and sediment characteristics and biological factors. Environ Sci Technol 37:3926–3934

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Nakari T, Huhtala S (2008) Comparison of toxicity of congener-153 of PCB, PBB, and PBDE to Daphnia magna. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 71:514–518

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Pickard SW, Clarke JU (2008) Benthic bioaccumulation and bioavailability of polychlorinated debenzo-p-dioxins/dibenzofurans from surficial Lake Ontario sediments. J Great Lakes Res 34:418–433

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Pickard SW, Clarke JU, Lotufo GR (2005) Bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from surficial Lake Erie sediments. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 76:791–798

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Song WL, Ford JC, Li A, Sturchio NC, Rockne KJ, Buckley DR, Mills WJ (2005) Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the sediments of the Great Lakes. 3. Lakes Ontario and Erie. Environ Sci Technol 39:5600–5605

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Stapleton HM, Baker JE (2003) Comparing polybrominated diphenyl ether and polychlorinated biphenyl bioaccumulation in a food web in Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 45:227–234

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. USAERDC (2006) BSAF Database.

  14. USEPA, USACE (1998) Great Lakes dredged material testing and evaluation manual.

  15. Wania F, Dugani CB (2003) Assessing the long-range transport potential of polybrominated diphenyl ethers: a comparison of four multimedia models. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 22:1252–1261

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wollenberger L, Dinan L, Breitholtz M (2005) Brominated flame retardants: activities in a crustacean development test and in an ecdysteroid screening assay. Environ Toxicol Chem 24:400–407

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Zhu LYZ, Hites RA (2004) Temporal trends and spatial distribution of brominated flame retardants in archived fishes from the Great Lakes. Environ Sci Technol 38:2779–2784

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank our colleagues Dennis Rimer, Jay Miller, William Butler, David Swiatek, Timothy Crockett, Michael Asquith (USACE Buffalo District) and Jerre Sims (US Army Engineer Research and Development Center) for their support on this work.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to G. R. Lotufo.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lotufo, G.R., Pickard, S.W. Benthic Bioaccumulation and Bioavailability of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers from Surficial Lake Ontario Sediments Near Rochester, New York, USA. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 85, 348–351 (2010).

Download citation


  • PDBE
  • Bioavailability
  • BSAF
  • Sediment