Research and analysis

Depuration rate constant: growth correction and use as an indicator of bioaccumulation potential

This report considers two new approaches to interpreting how chemicals build up in fish (bioaccumulation), specifically correcting for fish growth and the rate at which chemicals levels fall after exposure (depuration).

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Previous work by the Environment Agency has investigated methods for estimating a bioconcentration factor (BCF) from the data generated in the dietary exposure bioaccumulation method. This is a follow-up report to investigate further the following two aspects:

  • an alternative mathematical method to correct for fish growth in BCF and biomagnification factor studies
  • the use of the depuration (elimination) rate constant (or depuration half-life) as a direct measure of bioaccumulation and an alternative metric for indirect comparison against regulatory criteria for bioaccumulative or very bioaccumulative substances