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Using a biology-based model (DEBtox) to analyze bioassays in ecotoxicology: Opportunities and recommendations



The conventional analysis of bioassays does not account for biological significance. However, mathematical models do exist that are realistic from a biological point of view and describe toxicokinetics and effects on test organisms of chemical compounds. Here we studied a biology-based model (DEBtox) that provides an estimate of a no-effect concentration, and we demonstrated the ability of such a model to adapt to different situations. We showed that the basic model can be extended to deal with problems usually faced during bioassays like time-varying concentrations or unsuitable choices of initial concentrations. To reach this goal, we report experimental data from Daphnia magna exposed to zinc. These data also showed the potential benefit of the model in understanding the influence of food on toxicity. We finally make some recommendations about the choice of initial concentrations, and we propose a test with a depuration period to check the relevance and the predictive capacity of the DEBtox model. In our experiments, the model performed well and proved its usefulness as a tool in risk assessment.

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