The first determination of presence and biodistribution of PFOA in ninety specimens of sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus from two differently contaminated sites along Palermo’s coastline (Sicily) is reported. Analyses were performed on the sea urchins’ coelomic fluids, coelomocytes, gonads or mixed organs, as well as on seawater and Posidonia oceanica leaves samples from the collection sites. PFOA concentration ranged between 1 and 13 ng/L in seawater and between 0 and 794 ng/g in P. oceanica. The analyses carried out on individuals of P. lividus from the least polluted site (A) showed PFOA median values equal to 0 in all the matrices (coelomic fluid, coelomocytes and gonads). Conversely, individuals collected from the most polluted site (B) showed median PFOA concentrations of 21 ng/g in coelomic fluid, 153 ng/g in coelomocytes, and 195 ng/g in gonads. Calculated bioconcentration factors of log10BCF > 3.7 confirmed the very bioaccumulative nature of PFOA. Significant correlations were found between the PFOA concentration of the coelomic fluid versus the total PFOA concentration of the entire sea urchin. PERMANOVA (p = 0.001) end Welch's t-test (p < 0.001) analyses showed a difference between specimens collected from the two sites highlighting the potential application of P. lividus as sentinel species for PFOA biomonitoring.
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