Evaluation of the biotic ligand model to predict long-term toxicity of nickel to Hyalella azteca



Three models were developed and evaluated for their ability to predict long-term bioaccumulation of nickel (Ni) and its toxicity to Hyalella azteca using data from 28-d toxicity tests. One of the models was based on competitive action of Ni with Ca and H (the biotic ligand model; BLM), and the other two models included expressions for the potential noncompetitive action of calcium on the ligand (i.e., acclimation), in addition to, or instead of, its competitive action (not accounted for in the BLM). Each model was able to predict lethal accumulation 50 (accumulation at 50% mortality; LA50s) within a factor of 2 of the corresponding observed LA50. The mean predicted LA50 from all three models was within 13% of the observed mean LA50 of 0.90 µmol/g (dry weight). The median lethal concentrations (LC50s) predicted by the three models were similar and were within a factor of 2 of the observed LC50s for 11 of 13 tests, providing encouragement for further development of a long-term Ni BLM. The similar performance of models based on competitive or noncompetitive action may reflect limitations in the data set or may suggest that effects of calcium on the ligand (LT) were insufficient to hamper the functionality of the competitive model or that the LA50/LT ratio, rather than the LA50 and LT, is constant. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:2498–2504. © 2010 SETAC