Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A probabilistic statement of the structure activity relationship for environmental risk analysis


In this paper, we define a mode of biological response of an organism to a chemical in terms of a general mathematical model of the response surface. The model describes the combined effects of dose-level exposure and time-duration exposure using 570 96-hr toxicity tests with fathead minnows. The response surface along the dose and time axes for each chemical in these tests were completely defined by two scale factors, one for dose and one for time, and two form factors, one for dose and one for time. The scale factors for dose and time are proportional with the inverse of LC50 and Lt50, respectively. The form factors measure the relative response strategies with respect to dose and time exposures.

Only the scale factor for the dose is correlated with the logarithm of the octanol water partition coefficient (log P) and molecular weight (Mw). Additional and independent observations beyond log P and Mw are needed to correlate various modes of chemical action with the form factors. It is shown that narcosis-producing chemicals can be distinguished from other classes of chemicals by the dominance of the response strategy with respect to the dose over time exposures.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Brooke LT, Call DJ, Geiger DL, Northcott DE (eds) (1984,85,86,88) Acute Toxicities of Organic Chemicals to Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas), Center for Lake Superior Environmental Studies. University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior, WI 54880

  2. Broderius S, Kahl M (1985) Acute Toxicity of Organic Chemical Mixtures to the Fathead Minnow. Aquat Tox 6:307–322

  3. Drummond RA, Russom CL, Geiger DL, DeFoe DL (1986) Behavioral and Morphological Changes in Fathead Minnow,Pimephales promelas, as Diagnostic Endpoints for Screening Chemicals According to Mode of Action, ASTM STP 921

  4. Lipnick RL (1988) Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships and Toxicity Assessment in the Aquatic Environment. Chapter 21 of Risk Assessment of Chemicals in the Environment, The Royal Society of Chemistry, London

  5. Shirazi MA, Lowrie LN (1988) Comparative Toxicity Based on Similar Asymptotic Endpoints. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 16:273–280

  6. Shirazi MA, Bennett RS, Lowrie LN (1988) An Approach to Environmental Risk Assessment Using Avian Toxicity Tests. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 16:263–271

  7. Veith G, Call DJ, Brooke LT (1983) Stucture-Toxicity Relationships for the Fathead Minnow,Pimephales promelas: Narcotic Industrial Chemicals. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 40:743–748

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shirazi, M.A., Lowrie, L. A probabilistic statement of the structure activity relationship for environmental risk analysis. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 19, 597–602 (1990).

Download citation


  • Risk Analysis
  • Form Factor
  • Response Surface
  • Partition Coefficient
  • Environmental Risk