A Whale's Tale: Puzzling marine compounds are natural | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


A Whale's Tale: Puzzling marine compounds are natural

2:53pm, October 25, 2006

An 85-year-old vial of oil from a whaling ship has revealed that a mysterious group of organic chemicals resembling human-made compounds are naturally produced in the sea.

A decade ago, scientists monitoring marine mammals' flesh for pollutants began finding unknown organic compounds containing the halogen atoms bromine and chlorine. More than 20 such compounds were eventually revealed. That raised alarms because the compounds, as complex halogenated chemicals, structurally resemble the pesticide DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were once used in flame retardants.


This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content