Modeling chronic dietary cadmium bioaccumulation and toxicity from periphyton to Hyalella azteca



A chronic (28-d) Cd saturation bioaccumulation model was developed to quantify the Cd contribution from a natural periphyton diet to Cd in the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca. Bioaccumulation was then linked to chronic toxic effects. Juvenile H. azteca were exposed to treatments of Cd in water (3.13–100 nmol/L nominal) and food (389–26,300 nmol/g ash-free dry mass). Cadmium bioaccumulation, survival, and growth were recorded. Dietary Cd was estimated to contribute 21 to 31, 59 to 94, and 40 to 55% to bioaccumulated Cd in H. azteca exposed to treatments of Cd primarily in water, food, and food + water, respectively. Survival as a function of Cd lethal body concentration (679 nmol/g; 95% confidence limits, 617–747) was the most robust endpoint. Body concentration integrated all exposure routes. Based on the lethal body concentration, dietary Cd was predicted to contribute markedly (26–90%) to Cd in H. azteca. Cadmium concentration and food nutritional quality (biomass, chlorophyll a, total lipid, fatty acids, total protein) had no effect on H. azteca nutritional quality (total lipid, fatty acids, total protein) but did influence H. azteca dry weight. This research highlighted the importance of including a dietary component when modeling chronic effects of Cd and when refining endpoints for use in ecological risk assessment and water quality guidelines. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1709–1720. © 2011 SETAC