Two fish bile reference materials certified for PAH metabolites
Environmental pollution with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from pyrogenic or petrochemical sources is a matter of concern in many aquatic ecosystems. For field monitoring purposes, PAH metabolite levels in fish bile samples can be used as biomarkers of exposure, but previously there were no reference materials for analytical method validation or quality control. In this paper we describe the preparation and certification of two fish bile materials. BCR 720 is a pure bile material from sediment-exposed flounder (Platichthys flesus) and BCR 721 is a pure bile material from oil-exposed plaice (Pleuronectes platessa). Homogeneity and stability tests were carried out and a group of 12 expert laboratories was assembled for the certification measurements. The methods applied were liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection or gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. In BCR 720 three PAH metabolites were certified: 1-hydroxyphenanthrene, 1-hydroxypyrene and 3-hydroxybenzo[a]pyrene. In BCR 721 1-hydroxypyrene was certified. The fourth target compound, 2-hydroxynaphthalene, could not be certified, but the results obtained are listed. The major findings from earlier feasibility studies and recommendations for the optimal use of the reference materials are also included.