The retention properties of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were examined in the mussel (Mytilus edulis) over a period of 89 days. Mussels were transferred from a site of relatively high PCB contamination to a site of relatively low PCB concentration in Puget Sound, Washington. Retention of PCB components increased with increasing chlorine content. Concentrations of PCB decayed logarithmically with calculated half-lives ranging from 3 days for a PCB component with two and three chlorines to 50 days for a PCB component with six and seven chlorines. Components chosen to best represent the commercial PCB mixtures, Aroclor | 1242, 1254, and 1260, were estimated to have half-lives of 8, 23, and 39 days, respectively. The selective retention of the higher chlorinated biphenyls appear to be the result of lower water solubility of these components.
Calambokidis, J., J. Mowrer, M.W. Beug, and S.G. Herman. 1979. Selective retention of polychlorinated biphenyl components in the mussel, Mytilus edulis. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 8:299-308.