The analysis of PCBs in fish tissues by immunoassay methods was evaluated using fish collected from a US monitoring program, the National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program of the US Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Selected composite whole fish samples, which represented widely varying concentrations and sources of PCBs, were extracted and subjected to congener PCB analysis by gas chromatography (GC) and total PCB analysis using an ELISA (ePCBs) calibrated against technical Aroclor 1248. PCB congener patterns in these fishes were different from the patterns found in commercial Aroclors or their combinations as demonstrated by principal component analysis of normalized GC congener data. The sum of the PCB congeners measured by GC (total-PCBs) ranged from 37 to 4600 ng/g (wet weight). Concentrations of PCBs as determined by the ELISA method were positively correlated with total-PCBs and the ePCBs/total-PCBs ratios for individual samples ranged from 1 to 6. Ratios of ePCBs/total-PCBs for dilutions of Aroclors 1242, 1254, and 1260 and for matrix spikes range from 0.6 for 1242 to 2.5 for 1254 and 1260. These results suggest that higher chlorinated PCB congeners have higher affinity for the anti-PCB antibodies. Partial least squares with latent variable analysis of GC and ELISA data of selected Aroclors and fish samples also support the conclusion that ELISA derived PCB concentrations are dependent on the degree on chlorination.
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Comparison of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to gas chromatography (GC) - Measurement of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in selected US fish extracts