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PreprintContemporary 14C radiocarbon levels of oxygenated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (O-PBDEs) isolated in sponge–cyanobacteria associations( 2010-12) Guitart, Carlos ; Slattery, Marc ; Ankisetty, Sridevi ; Radwan, Mohamed ; Ross, Samir J. ; Letcher, Robert J. ; Reddy, Christopher M.Considerable debate surrounds the sources of oxygenated polybrominated diphenyl ethers (O-PBDEs) in wildlife as to whether they are naturally produced or result from anthropogenic industrial activities. Natural radiocarbon (14C) abundance has proven to be a powerful tool to address this problem as recently biosynthesized compounds contain contemporary (i.e. modern) amounts of atmospheric radiocarbon; whereas industrial chemicals, mostly produced from fossil fuels, contain no detectable 14C. However, few compounds isolated from organisms have been analyzed for their radiocarbon content. To provide a baseline, we analyzed the 14C content of four OPBDEs. These compounds, 6-OH-BDE47, 2’-OH-BDE68, 2’,6-diOH-BDE159, and a recently identified compound, 2’-MeO-6-OH-BDE120, were isolated from the tropical marine sponges Dysidea granulosa and Lendenfeldia dendyi. The modern radiocarbon content of their chemical structures (i.e. diphenyl ethers, C12H22O) indicates that they are naturally produced. This adds to a growing baseline on, at least, the sources of these unusual compounds.