What's Fed to the Fish

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Science  09 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6073, pp. 1149
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6073.1149-c

Human activities send a dizzying number of organic small molecules into various bodies of water, and the first step in assessing the dangers they may pose is to determine how much of each compound gets sequestered (and possibly transformed) in fish and other aquatic organisms. Direct uptake measurements are time-consuming and challenging, so validated models would be of great use, but thus far studies that compare different models across a broad spectrum of experimental data have been scarce. Stadnicka et al. strive to make progress in this vein by measuring correlations of model predictions with literature data on the uptake of 39 organic compounds in two different fish species: rainbow trout and fathead minnow. In particular, they compare the accuracy of one-compartment models treating fish as a single continuous system with that of a physiologically based toxico-kinetic model incorporating more fine-grained distinctions between accumulation in fatty tissue and in organs such as liver and kidneys. On the whole, the models fared similarly, matching measured concentrations to within an order of magnitude for 68% of the compounds, though predictions were poor for minnow accumulation of certain polar compounds, such as phenol and its derivatives.

Environ. Sci. Technol. 46, 10.1021/es2043728 (2012).

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