Alternative models for describing the bioconcentration of organics in fish



The accumulation of organic residues in fish is the result of competing rates of uptake and elimination, which can be modeled by pharmacokinetic techniques. Although first-order kinetics are usually assumed, they are rarely verified. Models with biphasic, second-order or Michaelis-Menten kinetics may prove to be better choices, depending on exposure level and mode of elimination. The well-known correlation between bioconcentration factor and partition coefficient (P) derives from separate correlations for the uptake and elimination rate constants with P. While such correlations appear to be linear in the range of log P = 2–5 for organics that are not metabolized, they sometimes fail at higher values of log P. A drug transport model is proposed to account for the “non-ideal” bioconcentration of a variety of organics in fish. According to this model, uptake is a nonlinear function of partition coefficient, water solubility and membrane permeability.