Document Type


Publication Date



We used stable isotope analysis and a bioaccumulation model to estimate concentrations of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), dioxin-furan toxic equivalents (TEQ), and total mercury (Hg) in mink and to compare predicted ranges with their chemical concentrations in mink liver (PCB, TEQ) and brain (Hg). Actual concentrations were within predicted bounds for total PCB, dioxin-furan TEQ, and Hg except in two cases (lowest PCB and highest Hg) which were very close to predicted bounds. Based on 15N analysis, the trophic level of mink ranged from 3.4 to 3.9. Animals at the upper end of the range were exposed to Lake Ontario water and its food web while those at the lower end were captured at inland locations. Because of the complexity of wetland (an important habitat for mink in this study) food webs with pelagic, littoral, and terrestrial carbon sources and overlapping 13C signatures, whether the origins of mink diets were aquatic or terrestrial could not be determined. We have established a non-destructive biomonitoring tool to reasonably estimate concentrations of total PCB, TEQ and total Hg in mink tissues as concentrations of these chemicals change in their water supply.


Randall Baase, Matt Lochner, and other trappers contributed carcasses; Scott Wells and Ross Abbett dissected the mink. ―Doc‖ Fink, Dick Sands, Mel Reber, and Al Burkhart allowed us to collect mink on their property, as did James Slusarczyk of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. Steve Bursian, Bob Gilliam, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Fred Luckey, Gary Neuderfer, Don Tillitt, Jennifer Vincent, and John Waud provided articles or data required for this study. Dennis Opresko reviewed an earlier version of the manuscript. The project was funded by grant C302399 from the New York State Great Lakes Protection Fund.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wellman, S.T., Haynes, J.M. & Pagano, J.J. Model Estimates Bioaccumulation of Total PCBs, Dioxin-Furan TEQs, and Total Mercury in Mink Liver Based on Concentrations in Lake Ontario Water. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol (2009) 57: 808.

Publisher Statement

Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the version accepted for publication in a journal following peer review but prior to copy editing and typesetting that can be made available under the conditions after a 12 month embargo.