The levels and fate of phthalate metabolites have been poorly evaluated in fish, despite their potential ecotoxicological impacts. The present study aims to characterize the levels of phthalate metabolites in muscle tissue of yellow eels (Anguilla anguilla) from two coastal Mediterranean lagoons, during three sampling periods. Nine phthalate metabolites were detected in > 70% of the samples. Slightly higher levels of phthalate metabolites were detected in March and June compared to October, suggesting possible seasonal variations in environmental release and/or phthalate metabolization process by eels. The large sample size (N = 117) made it possible to explore correlations between phthalate metabolites’ levels and individual parameters, such as body length, age, body condition and hepatic histo-pathologies. Body length and estimated age poorly correlated with phthalate metabolites, suggesting that eels did not accumulate phthalates during growth, contrary to persistent compounds. Eels presented different grades of hepatic fibrosis and lipidosis. A negative correlation was found between the severity of these pathologies in the liver and the sum of phthalate metabolites levels, supporting the hypothesis that eels with damaged liver are less able to metabolize xenobiotics.
C. Fourgous, M. Chevreuil, F. Alliot, E. Amilhat, E. Faliex, S. Paris-Palacios, M.J. Teil, A. Goutte, Science of The Total Environment, Volumes 569–570, 1 November 2016, Pages 1053–1059