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SAR QSAR Environ Res. 2010 Jul;21(5-6):389-401. doi: 10.1080/1062936X.2010.501143.

Toxicity of organic pollutants to seven aquatic organisms: effect of polarity and ionization.

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Key Laboratory for Wetland Ecology and Vegetation Restoration of National Environmental Protection, Department of Environmental Science, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, PR China.


The toxicity of organic chemicals to Vibrio fischeri, river bacteria, algae, Daphnia magna and fishes were analysed. The results showed that the toxicity of chemicals to narcotics was dependent on hydrophobicity. A single model for both polar and non-polar narcotics was developed by inclusion of a polarity descriptor as well as the hydrophobic parameter. The highly hydrophobic polar narcotics could be treated as non-polar narcotics because their polar functional group(s) make(s) a relatively small contribution to polarity as compared with their hydrophobicity. In order to investigate the toxic mechanism of action for reactive compounds, the response-surface approach was used to develop models derived from easily calculated descriptors. The stepwise analysis selected the octanol/water partition coefficient and a polarity descriptor to parameterize bio-uptake and reactivity, respectively, for seven species. Benzoic acids can be easily absorbed into the unicellular bacteria, but this is not the case for multicellular D. magna and fish. Their toxicity to V. fischeri is much higher than that to D. magna and carp. Regression analysis was performed based on the model that we developed for ionizable compounds. Good correlations were observed by introducing the correction factor for ionizable compounds. The toxic mechanisms are discussed.

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