DDD and DDE in suspended particulate matter (SPM) of rivers Rhine and Elbe

Significant higher contamination in the river Elbe

DDD and DDE are metabolites of the insecticide DDT. DDT was used in German agriculture and forestry until 1972 (Federal Republic of Germany) and 1984 (German Democratic Republic, GDR), respectively. Both metabolites are environmentally persistent and have a high potential for bioaccumulation and biomagnification.

DDD and DDE concentrations in suspended particulate matter (SPM) from rivers Rhine and Elbe differ strongly. Significant higher concentrations are found in the river Elbe which gives evidence of the prolonged and larger use of DDT in the former GDR. At the sampling site Blankenese the dilution with North Sea water results in lower contamination levels.

DDD und DDE  in suspended particulate matter from rivers Rhine and Elbe (stacked bar chart)
Fig. 1: DDD und DDE in suspended particulate matter from rivers Rhine and Elbe (stacked bar chart) Zoom in

 

Recommended profiles

Specimen

Suspended particulate matter Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase

Analytes

p,p'-DDE DDE is the main metabolite of DDT. It is even more persistent than the parent compound and is strongly accumulated by organisms. It is suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and to act as endocrine disruptor.
p,p'-DDD DDD is a metabolite of DDT with insecticidal properties. It is suspected to be carcinogenic and to act as endocrine disruptor.

Sampling area

Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe
Rhein Longest river in Germany