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Keywords:

  • Parameter uncertainty;
  • Bioaccumulation factor;
  • OMEGA model;
  • Parameterization;
  • Fish

Abstract

We quantified the uncertainty due to biota-related parameters in estimated bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) of persistent organic pollutants for fish through Monte Carlo simulations. For this purpose, the bioaccumulation model OMEGA (Optimal Modeling for EcotoxicoloGical Applications) was parameterized based on data from the existing literature, analysis of allometric data, and maximum likelihood estimation. Lipid contents, fractions of food assimilated, the allometric rate exponent, normalized food intakes, respiration and growth dilution rates, and partial mass transfer resistances in water and lipid layers were included as uncertain parameters. The uncertainty in partial resistances was particularly important in the estimation of the rate constants for chemical intake from water by fish. Uncertainties in the fractions of food assimilated and partial water layer resistances from and to food were particularly important in the estimation of the rate constants of chemical intake from food. The uncertainty in the model outcomes for the bioaccumulation factors for fish was a factor of 10 (ratio of 95th and fifth percentile estimates), which was mainly caused by the uncertainty in the lipid fraction. For chemicals with a KOW of 103 to 106, the uncertainty in the lipid contents of fish accounted for more than 50% of the uncertainty in the estimated bioaccumulation factor. For chemicals with a high KOW (107 and higher), the fractions of food assimilated and partial resistances also contributed to uncertainty in the estimated bioaccumulation factor (up to 60%). A case study showed that uncertainty in estimated BAF for nonpersistent substances can be dominated by uncertainty in the rate constants for metabolic transformation. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:403–412. © 2010 SETAC