Ecological fate, effects and prospects for the elimination of environmental polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Graduate Program in Ecology, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Impact Factor: 2.83). 10/2009; 9(5):655 - 667. DOI: 10.1002/etc.5620090512

ABSTRACT Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) present an environmental health hazard of global scale and man-made origin. Their impact on nearly every member of the biota results in a wide range of interacting negative effects. Due to their chemical nature, these recalcitrant toxicants are poised to enter and bioaccumulate in the food web. Recent advances in biodegradation research and molecular biology have shown that natural microorganisms and genetically modified bacterial strains could be used to decontaminate PCB-containing sites. The aim of this review is to summarize the chemistry, environmental fate and toxicological effects of PCBs and to evaluate the currently available technologies for nondisruptive elimination of PCBs from the environment.