Biotransformation of 8:2 polyfluoroalkyl phosphate diester in gilthead bream (Sparus aurata)
Polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs) are high production volume surfactants used in the food contact paper and packaging industry. PAPs may transform to persistent perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) under biotic conditions, but little is known about their fate and behavior in aquatic organisms. Here we report for the first time on the uptake, tissue distribution, and biotransformation of 8:2 polyfluoroalkyl phosphate diester (8:2 diPAP) in fish. Gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata) were dosed via the diet (8:2 diPAP at 29μg/ g) for 7days, during which time 8:2 diPAP and its transformation products were monitored in plasma, liver, muscle, gills, bile and brain. 8:2 diPAP tended to accumulate in liver, plasma and gills, and to a lesser extent in muscle, bile and brain. Several transformation products (observed previously in other organisms) were also observed in most tissues and biofluids, including both saturated and unsaturated fluorotelomer acids (8:2 FTCA, 8:2 FTUCA, 7:3 FTCA), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). 8:2 FTCA was the major metabolite in all tissues/biofluids, except for bile, where PFOA occurred at the highest concentrations. Unexpectedly high PFOA levels (up to 3.7ng/g) were also detected in brain. Phase II metabolites, which have been reported in fish following exposure to fluorotelomer alcohols, were not observed in these experiments, probably due to their low abundance. Nevertheless, the detection of PFOA indicates that exposure to PAPs may be an indirect route of exposure to PFCAs in fish.