Eggs taken from lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) captured from various Great Lakes between 1979 and 1988 were analyzed for individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners. Eggs from the same fish had been previously reared through hatching and early fry development to ascertain egg quality. Tissues from a subsample of the adult females that provided eggs were similarly analyzed. Significant relations were found between embryonic mortality (eggs dying between fertilization and hatch) and the concentration of total PCBs in both the eggs and adults. PCB concentrations were also negatively correlated with the percentage of normal fry that successfully hatched, but no relation was found between PCB residues and fry mortality. Pattern recognition analysis indicated that the PCB congener fingerprint from eggs from Lake Superior was different than that of eggs from Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario. A difference between PCB patterns was also identified between eggs and the parent fish. While this difference indicated some preferential deposition of congeners in the eggs, the difference was not attributed to the toxic AHH-active congeners. No difference in the PCB pattern was observed over the 10 years of sample collection, demonstrating that concentrations of individual congeners are declining at similar rates.
Additional publication details
Polychlorinated biphenyls in Great Lakes lake trout and their eggs: relations to survival and congener composition 1979-1988