Trace Metal Concentration Factors in Aquatic Ecosystems
The concept of concentration factors in aquatic systems is of ultimate importance in assessing the impact of any contaminant on such an ecosystem. While the general concept of bioconcentration is widely used, it is readily apparent that the qualifying assumptions and detailed theory underlying the concept often are not considered, leading to widespread misuse and misunderstanding of the phenomenon.
The basis is presented for the understanding of bioconcentration and concentration factors, and the (major) qualifying assumptions are discussed.
A series of examples are presented which demonstrate the variations in the bioconcentration of trace metals. These examples include elements known or thought to be essential as well as those known to be adventitious. The differences in the behavior of the metals demonstrate the problems inherent in general statements regarding concentration factors, and the reasons that many misuses have occurred.
KeywordsTrophic Level Aquatic Ecosystem Concentration Factor Methyl Mercury Biological Cycle
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