Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 20(1), 45 (2004).

Contamination and Biomethylation of Organotin Compounds in Pearl/Fish Culture Areas in Japan
Babu Rajendran RAMASWAMY,* Hiroaki TAO,*  and Masashi HOJO**
*National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 16-1, Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan
**Department of Materials Science, Faculty of Science, Kochi University, Kochi 780-8520, Japan
Uwakai of Japan is famous for pearl and yellowtail fish culture. Recently, pearl culture farming in that region has suffered from a low production of pearls. An illegal use of organotin antifouling paints on fishing nets was reported. In the line of pollution studies, thus, the present investigation was carried out to examine the contamination status and fate of organotin compounds. Totally, 23 water, 10 sediment and 8 pearl oyster tissue samples were analyzed for tributyltin (TBT), triphenyltin (TPT), and their breakdown products (di- and mono compounds) by gas chromatography combined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (GC/ICP-MS). The results show that the TBT concentrations in water, sediment and biota were in the range from 0.11 to 10.6 ng Sn l-1, 0.35 to 2500 ng Sn g-1, and 50.4 to 181 ng Sn g-1, respectively. The values for sediment and biota are expressed on the dry-weight basis. Triphenyltin in water, sediment and biota were in the range from 0.009 to 0.108 ng l-1, non-detect to 12.7 ng g-1, and non-detect to 6.83 ng g-1, respectively. Although the TBT concentration in seawater is below the tentative assessment level of 10 ng l-1 set by the Japanese Environment Agency in 1992, it may cause endocrine disruption/other effects in aquatic organisms. Octyltin compounds (mono-, di- and trioctyltin) were also quantified in seawater and sediment. The detection of dibutyldimethyltin (DBDMT) and tributylmonomethyltin (TBMMT) in sediment (methylated butyltins comprised 2.8 -31% of total butyltins), and TBMMT in seawater suggested that biomethylation of anthropogenic tributyltins is a significant transformation pathway in the coastal environment.