Three new mussel tissue standard reference materials (SRMs) for the determination of organic contaminants

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2004 Mar;378(5):1213-31. doi: 10.1007/s00216-003-2401-4. Epub 2004 Jan 31.


Three new mussel tissue standard reference materials (SRMs) have been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the determination of the concentrations of organic contaminants. The most recently prepared material, SRM 1974b, is a fresh frozen tissue homogenate prepared from mussels ( Mytilus edulis) collected in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The other two materials, SRMs 2977 and 2978, are freeze-dried tissue homogenates prepared from mussels collected in Guanabara Bay, Brazil and Raritan Bay, New Jersey, respectively. All three new mussel tissue SRMs complement the current suite of marine natural-matrix SRMs available from NIST that are characterized for a wide range of contaminants (organic and inorganic). SRM 1974b has been developed to replace its predecessor SRM 1974a, Organics in Mussel Tissue, for which the supply is depleted. Similarly, SRMs 2977 and 2978 were developed to replace a previously available (supply depleted) freeze-dried version of SRM 1974a, SRM 2974, Organics in Freeze-Dried Mussel Tissue. SRM 1974b is the third in a series of fresh frozen mussel tissue homogenate SRMs prepared from mussels collected in Boston Harbor starting in 1988. SRM 1974b has certified concentration values for 22 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 31 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (PCBs), and 7 chlorinated pesticides. Reference values are provided for additional constituents: 16 PAHs, 8 PCBs plus total PCBs, 6 pesticides, total extractable organics, methylmercury, and 11 trace elements. PAH concentrations range from about 2 ng g(-1 )dry mass (cyclopenta[ cd]pyrene) to 180 ng g(-1 )dry mass (pyrene). PCB concentrations range from about 2 ng g(-1 )dry mass (PCB 157) to 120 ng g(-1 )dry mass (PCB 153). The reference value for total PCBs in SRM 1974b is (2020 +/- 420) ng g(-1 )dry mass. Pesticide concentrations range from about 4 ng g(-1 )dry mass (4,4'-DDT) to 40 ng g(-1 )dry mass (4,4'-DDE). SRM 2977 has certified values for 14 PAHs, 25 PCB congeners, 7 pesticides, 6 trace elements, and methylmercury. Reference values for 16 additional PAHs and 9 inorganic constituents are provided, and information values are given for 23 additional trace elements. SRM 2978 has certified and reference concentrations for 41 and 22 organic compounds, respectively, and contains contaminant levels similar to those of SRM 1974b. Organic contaminant levels in SRM 2977 (mussels from Guanabara Bay, Brazil) are typically a factor of 2 to 4 lower than those in SRM 1974b and SRM 2978. The organic contaminant concentrations in each new mussel tissue SRM are presented and compared in this paper. In addition, a chronological review of contaminant concentrations associated with mussels collected in Boston Harbor is discussed as well as a stability assessment of SRM 1974a.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bivalvia / chemistry*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls