• Application of congener based multi-matrix profiling techniques to identify potential PCDD/F sources in environmental samples from the Burrishoole Catchment in the West of Ireland

      White, P.; McHugh, B.; Poole, R.; McGovern, E.; White, J.; Behan, P.; Foley, B.; Covaci, A. (Elsevier, 2014)
      Homologue and congener profiles of PCDD/Fs in eels, passive sampler and sediment extracts from the Burrishoole, a rural upland catchment on the western Irish seaboard were compared with potential PCDD sources. ΣPCDD/F levels in eels ranged from 2.9 to 25.9 pg g−1 wet weight, which are elevated compared to other Irish locations. The OCDD congener dominated the pattern of ΣPCDD/Fs in all matrices from Burrishoole. Passive samplers were successfully deployed to identify for the first time the presence in the water column of PCDD/Fs and dimethoxylated octachlorodiphenyl ether (diMeOoctaCDE), impurities found in pentachlorophenol (PCP) production. Principal component analysis (PCA) identified similarities between PCDD/F profiles in technical PCP mixtures and environmental samples from the Burrishoole region. Results strongly suggest residual PCDD contamination associated with historic local use of a dioxin contaminated product in the catchment area, with pentachlorophenol a strong candidate.
    • Assessment of biomarkers in Mytilus edulis to determine Good Environmental Status for implementation of MSFD in Ireland

      Giltrap, M.; Ronan, J.; Hardenberg, S.; Parkes, G.; McHugh, B.; McGovern, E.; Wilson, J.G. (Elsevier, 2013)
      Candidate OSPAR/ICES recommended biomarkers at the level of the individual in Mytilus edulis for determination of good environmental status for MSFD were evaluated against contaminant levels at sites around Ireland. The sites chosen ranged from moderate to low pollution levels, but the actual ranking of the sites varied according to the contaminant levels present. At the most contaminated site, Cork, 4 out of 16 contaminants exceeded the EAC, while at Shannon, no EACs were exceeded. The SOS assay suggested that Cork was the healthiest site with a LT50 of 17.6 days, while SOS for Shannon was 15.6 days. Likewise, condition factors varied among sites and did not always correspond to contaminant-based status. There may be uncertainty in assigning status around the not good:good boundary. This raises potential difficulties not only in the biomarker/contaminant load relationship but also in the reliability of the biomarkers themselves and hence barriers meeting compliance levels.
    • LC-UV and LC-MS methods for the determination of domoic acid

      Hess, P.; Morris, S.; Stobo, L.A.; Brown, N.A.; McEvoy, J.D.G.; Kennedy, G.; Young, P.B.; Slattery, D.; McGovern, E.; McMahon, T.; et al. (Elsevier, 2005)
      Under European legislation, domoic acid (DA), the main constituent of amnesic shellfish poisoning, is monitored to protect the shellfish consumer. To ensure comparability amongst analytical data, it was deemed necessary to undertake performance assessments of the methods conducted by monitoring laboratories of the United Kingdom and Ireland. In phase I of a two-phase inter-comparison, three laboratories used high-performance liquid chromatography and ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV). Concentration data for a DA standard solution, a crude extract of whole scallops and a scallop-homogenate fell within internationally accepted limits, demonstrating good agreement for these matrices. Between-laboratory analyses of a scallop gonad showed a higher variation (>16%). In phase II, a second gonad homogenate containing DA one order of magnitude higher in concentration gave results acceptable to internationally set criteria. The efficiency of the strong anion-exchange cartridges used in sample-extract clean-up should be monitored as part of a laboratory quality control system. From a recovery study, it is suggested that recovery correction should also be applied. There was no difference in the quantitation of DA in standard solutions or shellfish using either LC-UV or LC with mass spectrometric (MS) detection, and between-laboratory MS data for a gonad homogenate were also equivalent. Variations of the published method practised by the monitoring laboratories were found not to compromise results, thus demonstrating an acceptable degree of ruggedness, as well as comparability between the participants.
    • Mercury assessment in the marine environment: assessment criteria comparison (EAC/EQS) for mercury

      OSPAR Commission; McHugh, B.; Berbee, R.; Farmer, E.; Fryer, R.; Green, N.; Larsen, M.M.; Webster, L.; Lepom, P.; McGovern, E.; et al. (OSPAR Commission, 2016)
      Mercury is known for its worldwide environmental impact. It is addressed by several existing international agreements addressing atmospheric emissions (CLRTAP), the marine environment (OSPAR, HELCOM, Barcelona, Bucharest), waste (Basel), and export of chemicals (Rotterdam). It can be brought into the biosphere by humans by two different mechanisms: 1) intentional extraction and use, and 2) as a natural constituent in other materials. Mercury is extremely toxic to both man and biota and can be transformed within the aquatic environment into more toxic organic compounds (e.g. methyl mercury). A main pathway of mercury to the sea is atmospheric and it can be carried long distances from its source. The primary risk to the general population is exposure to methylmercury via ingestion of aquatic foods. OSPAR measures and subsequent EU measures regulate the main industrial sources for mercury releases to the environment. A suite of OSPAR measures control mercury emissions, discharges and sources. OSPAR has promoted actions in other international forums, especially the EU, e.g. call for actions to prevent pollution from the disposal of large amounts of pure and waste mercury arising from the closure or conversion of mercury cell chlor-alkali plants and for control measures on the use and marketing of mercury in various products.
    • Utilising caging techniques to investigate metal assimilation in Nucella lapillus, Mytilus edulis and Crassostrea gigas at three Irish coastal locations

      Giltrap, M.; Macken, A.; Davoren, M.; McGovern, E.; Foley, B.; Larsen, M.; White, J.; McHugh, B. (Elsevier, 2013)
      Pollution by metals has been of increasing concern for a number of decades but at present, the mechanism of metal accumulation in sentinel species is not fully understood and further studies are required for environmental risk assessment of metals in aquatic environments. The use of caging techniques has proven to be useful for assessment of water quality in coastal and estuarine environments. This study investigates the application of caging techniques for monitoring uptake of 20 elements [Li, Na, Mg, Al, P, K, Ca, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, As, Sb, Pb, Hg, Cd and Zn] in three marine species namely Nucella lapillus, Mytilus edulis and Crassostrea gigas. Stable isotopes were used to determine predatory effects and also used for modelling metal uptake in test species and to track nutrient assimilation. Metal levels were monitored at three different coastal locations, namely Dublin Bay, Dunmore East and Omey Island over 18 weeks. Significant differences in concentrations of Mn, Co and Zn between mussels and oysters were found. Correlations between cadmium levels in N. lapillus and δ13C and δ15N suggest dietary influences in Cd uptake. Levels of Zn were highest in C. gigas compared to the other two species and levels of Zn were most elevated at the Dunmore East site. Copper levels were more elevated in all test species at both Dublin Bay and Dunmore East. Mercury was raised in all species at Dunmore East compared to the other two sites. Biotic accumulation of metals in the test species demonstrates that caging techniques can provide a valid tool for biomonitoring in metal impacted areas.