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Bioconcentration of superlipophilic persistent chemicals

Octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (OCDD) in fish

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According to present understanding, persistent superlipophilic chemicals — such as octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, octachlorodibenzofuran, Mirex etc — with log Kow > 6 and cross sections > 9.5 Å, bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms only little from ambient water. The most convincing argument against it is that in bioconcentration experiments with superlipophilic chemicals amounts applied exceeded water solubility by several orders of magnitude. This paper describes various methods for determining bioconcentration factors (BCF) of superlipophilic compounds. As exemplified with octachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, BCF values evaluated by these methods match well with those calculated by QSARs for fish and mussels based on log Kow and water solubility. As expected, these BCF values exceed previous values by several orders of magnitude. For BCF evaluation of superlipophilic chemicals in aquatic organisms we recommend:

  1. (i)

    flow-through systems, kinetic method (OECD guideline No. 305 E)

  2. (ii)

    ambient concentrations < water solubility

  3. (iii)

    during the uptake and especially during the elimination phase no toxic effects of the test organisms should occur.

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Correspondence to Harald J. Geyer.

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Dedicated to Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Korte on the occasion of his 70th birthday anniversary

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Geyer, H.J., Muir, D.C.G., Scheunert, I. et al. Bioconcentration of superlipophilic persistent chemicals. Environ Sci & Pollut Res 1, 75–80 (1994).

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  • Rainbow Trout
  • Aquatic Organism
  • Dioxin
  • TCDD
  • Dibenzofuran