Separation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in fish for compound-specific stable carbon isotope analysis
A separation and isotopic analysis method was developed to accurately measure the stable carbon isotope ratios of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) with three to six substituted bromine atoms in fish samples. Sample extracts were treated with concentrated sulfuric acid to remove lipids, purified using complex silica gel column chromatography, and finally processed using alumina/silica (Al/Si) gel column chromatography. The purities of extracts were verified by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC–MS) in the full-scan mode. The average recoveries of all compounds across the purification method were between 60% and 110%, with the exception of BDE-154. The stable carbon isotopic compositions of PBDEs can be measured with a standard deviation of less than 0.5‰. No significant isotopic fraction was found during the purification of the main PBDE congeners. A significant change in the stable carbon isotope ratio of BDE-47 was observed in fish carcasses compared to the original isotopic signatures, implying that PBDE stable carbon isotopic compositions can be used to trace the biotransformation of PBDEs in biota. âº A method for the purification of PBDEs for CSIA was developed. âº The Î´13C of PBDE congeners can be measured with a standard deviation of less than 0.5‰. âº Common carp were exposed to a PBDE mixture to investigate debromination. âº Ratios of the Î´13C values can be used to trace the debromination of PBDE in fish.