Enantiomer ratios, patterns and levels of toxaphene congeners in human milk from Germany

J Environ Monit. 2002 Jun;4(3):389-94. doi: 10.1039/b200133k.


High resolution gas chromatography (HRGC) coupled to quadrupole negative ion chemical ionization (NICI) mass spectrometry (MS) was used to investigate congener patterns, levels and enantiomer distribution of selected toxaphene congeners (#26, #41, #44, #50, #63, B7-1453) in human milk from Germany. #50 and #26 were the most abundant congeners. Furthermore, the identification of B7-1453, B8-1412, #41, #42, #44 and #63 was possible. Levels for the sum of #26, #41, #44 and #50 ranged from 7 to 24 microg kg(-1) milk fat and contributed between 2 and 9% to the total burden of investigated organochlorines such as selected compounds of the chlordane group, HCH, DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Capillaries coated with heptakis-(2,3,6-O-tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-beta-cyclodextrin (TBDMS-CD) or octakis-(2,3,6-tri-O-ethyl)-gamma-cyclodextrin (TEG-CD) were used for the enantioselective separations. Enantiomer ratios (ER) and enantiomer fractions (EF) of the abundant toxaphene congeners #26 and #50 as well as of B7-1453, #41 and #63 were determined. Greatest deviations from a racemic composition in individual human milk samples were found for #41 (1.54-2.37), #50 (1.37-1.72) and #63 (0.53-0.71) whereas ERs for #26 were close to 1. Compared to wildlife biota such as fish and raptors ER changes were more pronounced in human milk but comparable to human adipose tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / analysis*
  • Isomerism
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Toxaphene / analogs & derivatives
  • Toxaphene / analysis*


  • Insecticides
  • Toxaphene