Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Organochlorine contaminants in double-crested cormorants from Green Bay, WI: I. Large-scale extraction and isolation from eggs using semi-permeable membrane dialysis

June 11, 1996

A 41.3-kg sample of double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) egg contents was extracted, yielding over 2 L of egg lipid. The double-crested cormorant (DCC) egg extract, after clean-up and concentration, was intended for use in egg injection studies to determine the embryotoxicity of the organic contaminants found within the eggs. Large-scale dialysis was used as a preliminary treatment to separate the extracted contaminants from the co-extracted sample lipids. The lipid was dialyzed in 80×5 cm semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs) in 50-ml aliquants. After the removal of 87 g of cholesterol by freeze-fractionation, the remaining lipid carryover (56 g) was removed by 100 routine gel permeation chromatography (GPC) operations. A 41,293-g sample was thus extracted and purified to the extent that it could easily be placed at a volume of 5 ml, the volume calculated to be necessary for the egg injection study. Analyses were performed comparing contaminant concentrations in the final purified extract to those present in the original egg material, in the extract after dialysis and cholesterol removal, and in the excluded materials. Recoveries of organochlorine pesticides through dialysis and cholesterol ranged from 96% to 135%. Total polychlorinated biphenyls in the final extract were 96% of those measured in the original egg material. Analysis of excluded lipid and cholesterol indicated that 92% of the polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and-furans were separated into the final extract.