Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances, such as

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External links

  1. ^ a b USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program: Bioaccumulation
  2. ^ Bioaccumulation of Marine Pollutants [and Discussion], by G. W. Bryan, M. Waldichuk, R. J. Pentreath and Ann Darracott Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences.
  3. ^ Stadnicka, J; Schirmer, K; Ashauer, R (2012). Predicting Concentrations of Organic Chemicals in Fish by Using Toxicokinetic Models. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  4. ^ Jon Arnot et al. Molecular size cutoff criteria for screening bioaccumulation potential: Fact or fiction? DOI:10.1897/IEAM_2009-051.1.
  5. ^ Ashauer, R; Hintermeister, A; O'Connor, I; Elumelu, M, et al. (2012). Significance of Xenobiotic Metabolism for Bioaccumulation Kinetics of Organic Chemicals in Gammarus pulex. Environ. Sci. Technol.


See also

In some eutrophic aquatic systems, biodilution can occur. This trend is a decrease in a contaminant with an increase in trophic level and is due to higher concentrations of algae and bacteria to "dilute" the concentration of the pollutant.

Coastal fish (such as the smooth toadfish) and seabirds (such as the Atlantic Puffin) are often monitored for heavy metal bioaccumulation.

Some animal species exhibit bioaccumulation as a mode of defense; by consuming toxic plants or animal prey, a species may accumulate the toxin which then presents a deterrent to a potential predator. One example is the Vitamin A, which becomes concentrated in carnivore livers of e.g. polar bears: as a pure carnivore that feeds on other carnivores (seals), they accumulate extremely large amounts of Vitamin A in their livers. It was known by the native peoples of the Arctic that the livers of carnivores should not be eaten, but Arctic explorers have suffered Hypervitaminosis A from eating the bear livers (and there has been at least one example of similar poisoning of Antarctic explorers eating husky dog livers). One notable example of this is the expedition of Sir Douglas Mawson, where his exploration companion died from eating the liver of one of their dogs.

Naturally produced toxins can also bioaccumulate. The marine mussels and oysters becoming toxic; coral fish can be responsible for the poisoning known as ciguatera when they accumulate a toxin called ciguatoxin from reef algae.

Strontium-90, part of the fallout from atomic bombs, is chemically similar enough to calcium that it is utilized in osteogenesis, where its radiation can cause damage for a long time.

An example of poisoning in the workplace can be seen from the phrase "methylmercury, which is lipid soluble, and tends to accumulate in the brain resulting in mercury poisoning. Other lipid (fat) soluble poisons include tetraethyllead compounds (the lead in leaded petrol), and DDT. These compounds are stored in the body's fat, and when the fatty tissues are used for energy, the compounds are released and cause acute poisoning.



  • Examples 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Bioconcentration is a related but more specific term, referring to uptake and accumulation of a substance from water alone. By contrast, bioaccumulation refers to uptake from all sources combined (e.g. water, food, air, etc.)[1]