Study of the long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) bile content: An indicator of ocean health

Daniela M. Pampanin, William Bossum Arnli, Jason T. Magnuson, Giovanna Monticelli, Maria Dam, Svein-Ole Mikalsen, Magne O. Sydnes

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Globicephala melas has been harvested in the Faroe Islands for centuries. Given the distances travelled by this species, tissue/body fluid samples represent unique matrices to be considered as an integration of environmental condition and pollution status of their prey. For the first time, bile samples were analysed for presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolites and protein content. Concentrations of 2- and 3-ring PAH metabolites ranged from 11 to 25 μg mL−1 pyrene fluorescence equivalents. In total, 658 proteins were identified and 61,5 % were common amongst all individuals. Identified proteins were integrated into in silico software and determined that the top predicted disease and functions were neurological diseases, inflammation, and immunological disorders. The metabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was predicted to be dysregulated, which can have consequences to both the protection against ROS produced during dives and contaminant exposures. The obtained data is valuable for understanding metabolism and physiology of G. melas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114795
Number of pages40
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • PAH metabolites
  • Proteomics
  • Whale
  • Ingenuity Pathway Analysis
  • Pilot whale
  • Globicephala melas


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