Origin and organ-specific bioaccumulation pattern of perfluorinated alkyl substances in crabs

Seogyeong Choi, Jeong Jae Kim, Min Hyuk Kim, Yong Sung Joo, Myung Sub Chung, Younglim Kho, Kwang Won Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Consumption of seafood is a major contributor to perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) exposure. Crabs contain high levels of PFASs, and different PFASs are concentrated in their tissues depending on their habitat. Despite South Korea importing huge quantities of crabs, no investigation has been conducted on the effect of PFAS exposure. This study investigated the risk of exposure to PFASs when ingesting crabs. To determine the risk of exposure, 19 different PFAS species were measured in the edible parts (body, legs, offal, and eggs) of crabs originating from South Korea (n = 17), China (n = 14), India (n = 7), and Pakistan (n = 31), which were distributed in the fish markets of South Korea. The results revealed that, in contrast to short-chain PFASs, long-chain PFASs (PFCAs≥8, PFSAs≥6, and perfluorooactane sulfonamidoacetic acids (FOSAAs)≥8) were detected in crab samples from all four countries of origin, and in all the edible parts except for the legs. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; 16.9 ng/g in South Korea, 9.42 ng/g in China) and perfluoro-n-tridecanoic acid (PFTrDA; 5.35 ng/g in South Korea, 2.40 ng/g in China) were the predominant perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) detected in the crabs originating from South Korea and China, and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS; 7.02 ng/g in Pakistan, 5.88 ng/g in India) was the predominant perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (PFSAs) detected in crabs originating from Pakistan and India. These results indicate that PFASs that are accumulated in crabs differ depending on the ocean from which they originate. The concentrations of PFOA and PFOS were significantly higher in the eggs and offal than in the legs and body of the crab. The average daily intake of PFOA and PFOS in South Koreans ranges from 0.01% to 0.07% based on the tolerable daily intake of EFSA and MFDS. These results establish the PFAS profiles and risk assessment of crabs that are distributed in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114185
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun


  • Crab
  • Long-chain PFASs
  • Organ-specific
  • Perfluorinated alkyl substances
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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