Honors College Thesis


Analysis of Organochlorine Pesticides (OCPs) in Gray Whale Scat as an Alternative Method of Toxicant Quantification in Cetaceans Public Deposited

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  • A method was developed to quantify organochlorine pesticides in whale scat. This method would ideally replace analysis of pesticides in blood and tissue samples, which are difficult to acquire. Scat samples were collected from one stranded gray whale and three live whales. The samples were extracted with pressurized liquid extraction, cleaned up by solid phase extraction, and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Compounds detected in whale scat included hexachlorobenzene, β-hexachlorocyclo-hexane, chlordanes, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its derivates (DDTs), and dieldrin. Lipid content of one sample was determined and compared to published literature values obtained through tissue sample analyses of the same population. The relationship between pesticide concentrations in scat and tissue samples is not known and must be established before scat analysis can replace tissue analysis as an approach to toxicant quantification in whales. The method developed in this study will allow rapid analysis of a large number of scat samples, thereby providing a means by which this relationship cap be identified. Key Words: organochlorine pesticides, scat, gray whales, persistent organic pollutants
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  • Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Award
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