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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Apr 1;43(7):2206-15.

Dynamic exposure of organisms and passive samplers to hydrophobic chemicals.

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  • 1CABE, University of Geneva, Sciences II, 30 Quai Ernest Ansermet, CH 1211, Geneva 4, Switzerland.


An insight into the dynamic aspects of the accumulation process is essential for understanding bioaccumulation as well as effect studies of hydrophobic organic chemicals. This review presents an overview of kinetic studies with organisms (fish, bivalve, crustacean, insect, worm, algae, and protozoan) as well as passive samplers (solid and liquid phase microextraction, semipermeable membrane device, polymer sheet, solid-phase extraction, Chemcatcher, etc.) for the uptake of neutral nonpolar chemicals from the aqueous phase. Information about uptake rates, elimination rates, and 95% equilibration times was collected and analyzed with diffusion based models. The present literature review suggests that the surface to volume ratio appears to be a critical parameter for the uptake rate of the more hydrophobic chemicals both for samplers and organisms. In addition, as a very first approximation, the combination of the first-order kinetic model with the assumption that diffusion through the aqueous boundary layers is rate limiting, gives a reasonable description of the experimental kinetic data. In this way, the presented model might be used to estimate uptake and elimination rate constants of chemicals by organisms or passive samplers.

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