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Bioconcentration of the intense sweetener sucralose in a multitrophic battery of aquatic organisms



Reports of the intense (artificial) sweetener sucralose (1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-β-D-fructo-furanosyl 4-chloro-4-deoxy-α-D-galactopyranoside) in various environmental compartments have led to speculations about biological effects in nontarget species living in areas receiving discharges from anthropogenic activities. We have, as the first step in the risk assessment of this compound, conducted bioaccumulation studies in the freshwater alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, the crustacean Daphnia magna, and zebrafish (Danio rerio). The freshwater algae and the daphnid tests were performed using a 48-h static exposure system, whereas the zebrafish test was performed using a 48-h semi static exposure system followed by 48 h flow-through of clean water for the depuration phase. All three studies were conducted with two exposure concentrations (10 and 100 mg/L), and the concentrations of sucralose in water and biota were verified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. The studies showed that uptake of sucralose was assumed to achieve a steady state within the first 48 h, and the bioconcentration factor at the assumed steady state (BCFSS) was calculated to be less than 1 for algae and between 1.6 to 2.2 for the daphnids. The fish BCFSS, assumed to occur between 24 to 48 hours, were calculated to be less than 1 for both concentrations tested. A first-order one-compartment (uptake phase) and a first-order two-compartment (elimination phase) model characterized the uptake and depuration kinetics in zebrafish (k1 = 0.027–0.038/h and k2 = 0.206–0.222/h, t95 = 13.5 to 14.6 h, t50 = 3.1 to 3.3 h, and BCFkinetic = 0.4 to 0.9). The current study shows that sucralose does not bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms from different tiers of the food web, and that the BCF's obtained were considerably lower than the criteria set to identify persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances (i.e., BCF ≥ 2,000). Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:673–681. © 2011 SETAC