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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Jul 1;44(13):5022-8. doi: 10.1021/es903697c.

Integration of biotic ligand models (BLM) and bioaccumulation kinetics into a mechanistic framework for metal uptake in aquatic organisms.

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  • 1Industrial Ecology Programme, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491, Trondheim, Norway. karin.veltman@ntnu.no


Both biotic ligand models (BLM) and bioaccumulation models aim to quantify metal exposure based on mechanistic knowledge, but key factors included in the description of metal uptake differ between the two approaches. Here, we present a quantitative comparison of both approaches and show that BLM and bioaccumulation kinetics can be merged into a common mechanistic framework for metal uptake in aquatic organisms. Our results show that metal-specific absorption efficiencies calculated from BLM-parameters for freshwater fish are highly comparable, i.e. within a factor of 2.4 for silver, cadmium, copper, and zinc, to bioaccumulation-absorption efficiencies for predominantly marine fish. Conditional affinity constants are significantly related to the metal-specific covalent index. Additionally, the affinity constants of calcium, cadmium, copper, sodium, and zinc are significantly comparable across aquatic species, including molluscs, daphnids, and fish. This suggests that affinity constants can be estimated from the covalent index, and constants can be extrapolated across species. A new model is proposed that integrates the combined effect of metal chemodynamics, as speciation, competition, and ligand affinity, and species characteristics, as size, on metal uptake by aquatic organisms. An important direction for further research is the quantitative comparison of the proposed model with acute toxicity values for organisms belonging to different size classes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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