Variation in PFAA concentrations and egg parameters throughout the egg-laying sequence in a free-living songbird (the great tit, **Parus major**) : implications for biomonitoring studies
Over the past decades, there has been growing scientific attention and public concern towards perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), due to their widespread presence in the environment and associations with adverse effects on various organisms. Bird eggs have often been used as less-invasive biomonitoring tools for toxicological risk assessments of persistent organic pollutants, including some PFAAs. Hereby, it is typically assumed that one random egg is representative for the PFAA concentrations of the whole clutch. However, variation of PFAA concentrations within clutches due to laying sequence influences can have important implications for the egg collection strategy and may impede interpretations of the quantified concentrations. Therefore, the main objective of this paper was to study variation patterns and possible laying sequence associations with PFAA concentrations in eggs of the great tit (Parus major). Eight whole clutches (48 eggs) were collected at a location in the Antwerp region, situated about 11 km from a known PFAA point source. The ∑ PFAA concentrations ranged from 8.9 to 75.1 ng g−1 ww. PFOS concentrations ranged from 6.7 to 55.1 ng g−1 ww and this compound was the dominant contributor to the total PFAA profile (74%), followed by PFDoA (7%), PFOA (7%), PFDA (5%), PFTrA (4%) and PFNA (3%). The within-clutch variation (70.7%) of the ∑ PFAA concentrations was much larger than the among-clutch variation (29.3%) and concentrations decreased significantly for some PFAA compounds throughout the laying sequence. Nevertheless, PFAA concentrations were positively and significantly correlated between some egg pairs within the same clutch, especially between egg 1 and egg 3. For future PFAA biomonitoring studies, we recommend to consistently collect the same egg along the laying sequence, preferably the first or third egg if maximizing egg exposure metrics is the main objective.
Source (journal)
Environmental pollution. - London, 1987, currens
London : 2019
0269-7491 [print]
1873-6424 [online]
246 (2019) , p. 237-248
Pubmed ID
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
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Project info
Toxicity of Perfluoralkyl Substances (PFAAs) to terrestrial invertebrates and songbirds. Effects at different levels of biological organization including behaviour and reproduction.
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 18.12.2018
Last edited 15.11.2022
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