Natural Sources and Microbial Transformation of Marine Halogenated Pollutants

Bradley Moore, Ph.D.
Eric Allen, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grant: R01ES030316

Naturally occurring polybrominated organic compounds are widely distributed in the marine food web, including seafood consumed by humans. These compounds, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), were recently shown to pose potential risks for human health. More information is needed to define the sources of naturally occurring PBDEs to better understand how these chemicals accumulate in the food web, and how climate change might impact their production. This project will focus on marine macroalgae, a newly identified source of PBDEs in marine habitats, to define how they produce and transform the compounds. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego are characterizing the enzymes involved in the assembly, tailoring, and degradation of PBDEs. Investigators will also search for additional microbial sources of PBDEs by using integrated high resolution genomic and metabolomic approaches to analyze fish- and marine mammal-associated microbiomes.