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Bioaccumulation and bound-residue formation of 14C-decabromodiphenyl ether in an earthworm-soil system

Huang, Lei, Wang, Wei, Zhang, Sufen, Tang, Shenghua, Zhao, Pengfei, Ye, Qingfu
Journal of hazardous materials 2017 v.321 pp. 591-599
Rhodococcus erythropolis, bacteria, bioaccumulation, earthworms, environmental impact, flame retardants, gizzard, head, integument, mineralization, risk, soil, tail
Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) is one of the most frequently detected flame retardants in terrestrial environments. However, the fate of DecaBDE and its transport in an earthworm-soil system with and without a DecaBDE-degrading strain have rarely been evaluated. In this study, ¹⁴C-DecaBDE was self-synthesized, and a DBDE-degrading strain, Rhodococcus erythropolis, was used in an earthworm-soil system. DecaBDE showed limited degradation and mineralization after 35days of all treatments. The bound-residue (BR) formation in soil was <2.5% in the system containing earthworms, which was significantly higher (p<0.05) than that observed in the absence of earthworms (<0.45%). DecaBDE could be adsorbed by the earthworms with a BSAF of ≤0.31. The distribution of ¹⁴C-DecaBDE concentrations in the earthworm roughly followed the pattern of crop gizzard>digestive system>head>tail>body wall, suggesting that DecaBDE was mainly uptaken through ingestion. Up to 31% of the ¹⁴C-DecaBDE in the earthworms was not extractable, revealing that the total concentration of accumulated ¹⁴C-DecaBDE was underestimated. The results also showed that the presence of DecaBDE-degrading bacteria did not significantly affect the fate of DecaBDE and its accumulation in earthworms. The study indicates that the conventional assessment of the bioaccumulation and ecological effects of DecaBDE, which is based only on extractable concentrations, may underestimate the risks.