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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl-Contaminated Freshwater Impacts Adjacent Riparian Food Webs

Koch, Alina; Jonsson, Micael; Yeung, Leo W. Y.; Karrman, Anna; Ahrens, Lutz; Ekblad, Alf; Wang, Thanh


The occurrence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in aquatic ecosystems is a global concern because of their persistence, potential bioaccumulation, and toxicity. In this study, we investigated a PFAS-contaminated pond in Sweden to assess the cross-boundary transfer of PFASs from the aquatic environment to the riparian zone via emergent aquatic insects. Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, surface water, sediments, soils, and plants were analyzed for 24 PFASs including branched isomers. Stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen was performed to elucidate the importance of diet and trophic position for PFAS uptake. We present the first evidence that PFASs can propagate to the riparian food web via aquatic emergent insects. Elevated Sigma(24)PFAS concentrations were found in aquatic insect larvae, such as dragon- and damselflies, ranging from 1100 to 4600 ng g(-1) dry weight (dw), and remained high in emerged adults (120-3500 ng g(-1) dw), indicating exposure risks for top predators that prey in riparian zones. In terrestrial invertebrate consumers, PFAS concentrations increased with the degree of aquatic-based diet and at higher trophic levels. Furthermore, stable isotope data together with calculated bioaccumulation factors indicated that bioconcentration of PFASs was the major pathway of exposure in the aquatic food web and bioaccumulation in the riparian food web.

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2020, Volume: 54, number: 19, pages: 11951-11960

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    Environmental Sciences

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