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Bioaccumulation: aquatic / sediment

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Endpoint:
bioaccumulation in aquatic species, other
Remarks:
Terrestrial plants exposed under hydroponic conditions
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment
Reason / purpose for cross-reference:
reference to same study
Principles of method if other than guideline:
- Principle of test:
Bioretention of lithium and its toxicity to maize was determined under hydroponic conditions.
- Short description of test conditions:
Seeds of maize were used. Ten lithium concentrations in nutrient solution (each in four replicates) were tested: one control and 9 levels of lithium.
- Parameters analysed / observed:
1. Yield
2. Tolerance index
3. EC50
4. Lithium concentration in the individual plant parts
5. Translocation factor
6. Bioaccumulation factor
7. Lithium uptake was calculated
8. Utilization factor
GLP compliance:
no
Remarks:
GLP was not indicated in the published data.
Test organisms (species):
other: Maize ( Zea mays L., family: Poaceae)
Route of exposure:
aqueous
Test type:
semi-static
Water / sediment media type:
other: artificial nutrient solution
Total exposure / uptake duration:
8 wk
Details on test conditions:
TEST SYSTEM
- Test vessel: growing container
- Type: open
- Material, size, headspace, fill volume:
- Aeration: constantly
- Renewal rate of test solution (frequency/flow rate): nutrient solution was replenished evry 10 days, iron was replenished every 4 days
- No. of organisms per vessel: 16
- No. of vessels per concentration (replicates): 4
- No. of vessels per control / vehicle control (replicates): 4

TEST MEDIUM / WATER PARAMETERS
Hoagland nutrient solution (mg/L):
Ca(NO3)2 ∙ 4 H2O – 240.0
KNO3 – 10.0
KH2PO4 – 7.0
KCl – 4.0; MgSO4 ∙ 7 H2O – 100.0
FeSO4 ∙ 7 H2O, CuSO4 ∙ 5 H2O – 0.05
H3BO3 – 0.12
MnSO4 ∙ H2O – 0.25
ZnSO4 ∙ 7 H2O – 0.10
Na2MoO4 ∙ 2 H2O – 0.10
Nominal and measured concentrations:
Nominal: 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 mg Li/L
Reference substance (positive control):
not specified
Details on estimation of bioconcentration:
BASIS FOR CALCULATION OF BAF
- Estimation software: calculated as the ratio of lithium concentration in the whole plant to its concentration in the solution
Key result
Conc. / dose:
1 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
11.42 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
2 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
12.87 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
4 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
13.22 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
8 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
14.42 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
16 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
12.21 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
32 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
13.23 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
64 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
14.93 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
128 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
15.69 dimensionless
Key result
Conc. / dose:
256 mg/L
Type:
BAF
Value:
9.96 dimensionless
Reported statistics:
One-factor analysis of variance was conducted in a completely randomized design using F-Fisher test. The significance of differences between arithmetic means was verified on the basis of homogenous groups determined by Duncan test at the significance level α ≤ 0.05.

Observations during the plants vegetation

Plants of the two highest concentrations were smaller and had shorter and thinner stems compared to the control. Chloroses, necroses and browning which usually resulted in leaf drying was observed regarding the above ground parts. The roots showed changes in colouring and growth inhibition. Plants exposed to lower concentrations were well developed.

Maize yield

Assuming the yield is an indicator of plant response to the presence of lithium in the nutrient solution, it needs to be stated that the concentration in solution ranging from 1 to 64 mg Li/dm³ had a stimulating effect, whereas a depression in yielding occurred only at the concentrations of 128 and 256 mg Li/dm³.

EC50 values

For assessment of lithium toxicity the concentration that results in a 50% reduction in the yield of maize (EC50) was determined as 140 mg Li/L for an exposure period of two months under hydroponic conditions.

Validity criteria fulfilled:
not specified
Conclusions:
Lithium cannot be regarded as bioaccumulative for terrestrial plants when applied using hydroponic conditions. The bioaccumulation values were all around 9 to 16 over the different dosing groups.
Executive summary:

Maize ( Zea mays L., family: Poaceae) was treated with nutrient solution including lithium at concentrations of 1, 2, 4, 6, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256 mg Li/L under hydroponic conditions. Maize seeds were germinated and afterwards sown into plastic trays filled with river sand. Moisture content of the substratum was kept at 50 % of the maximum water capacity. After reaching an appropriate size plants were moved to a growing container filled with water for acclimatisation. 16 plants were placed in each container. The level of liquid was checked periodically and each container was constantly aerated. Lithium was added to the nutrient solution after 4 weeks (plants had developed a typical aquatic root system). Harvest was performed after two months.

The determined BAF values were all around 9 to 16 over the different dosing groups. Thus, lithium cannot be regarded as bioaccumulative.

Endpoint:
bioaccumulation in aquatic species: fish
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment
Principles of method if other than guideline:
Lithium content was analysed by ICP-MS in fish and water samples collected from secondary-treated wastewater wetlands.
GLP compliance:
no
Details on sampling:
- Sampling intervals/frequency: samples of water and fish were collected in July and August 1998 and February 2000. 4 water samples were collected from the inlet and 8 from the outlet with 100 Gambusia fish, 7 Tilapia fillets and 5 Tilapia livers that were analysed.
- Sample storage conditions before analysis: Samples were stored at -20°C until analysis
- Details on sampling and analysis of test organisms and test media samples (e.g. sample preparation, analytical methods):
Tilapia preparation: Tilapia were dissected individually using ceramic instruments. Liver, fillet and other tissues (bone, skin and non liver organs) were sampled and prepared. Fillet samples were minced and homogenised with a knife. A Teflon probe was used to homogenise the liver. The samples were digested in closed Teflon vessels using highly pure nitric acid and microwaves.
- Gambusia preparation: The whole organism was minced and homogenised with a knife and subsequently digested in closed Teflon vessels using nitric acid.
Vehicle:
no
Test organisms (species):
other: Tilapia mossambica and Gambusia affinis
Details on test organisms:
TEST ORGANISM
- Common name: Tilapia (Tilapia mossambica) and moquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
Route of exposure:
aqueous
Test type:
field study
Water / sediment media type:
natural water: freshwater
Details on test conditions:
TEST SYSTEM
- No. replicates: 3
- Tilapia samples: Individial fish were weighed and measured.
- Gambusia samples: Composites of approximately 100 fish were collected

WATER PARAMETERS
- Source: Tres Rios Demonstration Constructed Wetlands, near Phoenix, Arizona. The site consists of mixed deep-water and shallow-water zones in four 0.89 to 1.3 ha free-water-surface treatment wetlands, with a number of aquatic species. The sites receive 7500 m³/day under controlled flow conditions and during the sampling period, at an average water depth of 0.1 - 0.5 m, the hydraulic loading rate was 7.5 - 15 cm/d with 3 - 4 days retention time.
Details on estimation of bioconcentration:
BASIS INFORMATION
- Monitoring data: The bioconcentration factor was calculated from the concentration in fish divided by the concentration in water (Lithium concentration in water: 56 - 59 µg/L).

BASIS FOR CALCULATION OF BCF
BCF were calculated using the lithium concentration measured in the inlet samples. Refer to "Any other information on materials and methods incl. tables" for further details.
Lipid content:
0.3 mg/kg bw w.w.
Time point:
end of exposure
Remarks on result:
other: Gambusia
Lipid content:
0.1 mg/kg bw w.w.
Time point:
end of exposure
Remarks on result:
other: Tilapia fillet
Lipid content:
0.5 mg/kg bw w.w.
Time point:
end of exposure
Remarks on result:
other: Tilapia liver
Key result
Conc. / dose:
59 µg/L
Type:
BCF
Value:
5 L/kg
Basis:
whole body d.w.
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: Gambusia
Key result
Conc. / dose:
59 µg/L
Type:
BCF
Value:
2 L/kg
Basis:
other: fillet d.w.
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: Tilapia
Key result
Conc. / dose:
59 µg/L
Type:
BCF
Value:
8 L/kg
Basis:
organ d.w.
Remarks:
liver
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: Tilapia
Reported statistics:
- Gambusia concentration statistics: The concentration given for whole Gambusia is the median concentration for triplicate analysis of a single composite sample prepared from ~100 individual specimens.
- Tilapia concentration statistics: The concentration given for Tilapia fillet is the median concentration for 7 individual samples each analysed in triplicate and for Tilapia liver is the median concentration for 5 individual samples each analysed in triplicate.
Validity criteria fulfilled:
not applicable
Conclusions:
A bioconcentration factor between 2 to 8 L/kg was determined in two fish species (Gambusia and Tilapia).
Executive summary:

Barber et al. (2006) determined the bioconcentration factor in two different fish species (Tilapia, Gambusia). Water and fish samples were taken from constructed secondary effluent wastewater wetlands. The lithium concentration in water as well as in whole Gambusia and fillets and livers of Tilapia were determined. A lithium concentration between 56 and 59 µg/L was measured with ICP-MS. Based on the measured data the BCF in freshwater fish was calculated to be between 2 and 8 L/kg. The publication shows limits in design and/or reporting, however follows general scientific principles and was thus considered relevant for a weight of evidence regarding bioaccumulation of lithium.

Endpoint:
bioaccumulation in aquatic species: fish
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Reliability:
4 (not assignable)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
secondary literature
Principles of method if other than guideline:
Data were taken from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, USA (1996) Screening models for releases of radionuclides to atmosphere, surface water and group, NCRP report number 123 I.
GLP compliance:
no
Radiolabelling:
no
Type:
BAF
Value:
1 dimensionless
Calculation basis:
other: No data reported
Remarks on result:
other: Marine: 10-fold error likely according to other data
Type:
BAF
Value:
1 dimensionless
Calculation basis:
other: No data reported
Remarks on result:
other: Freshwater

The authors indicate that a 10-fold error is likely for the marine BAF according to other data, but no further information is provided.

Validity criteria fulfilled:
not applicable
Conclusions:
The bioaccumulation factor for lithium in freshwater and marine organisms is 1.
Executive summary:

The review article of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co cites bioaccumulation data from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, USA. A bioaccumulation factor of 1 was listed for both marine and freshwater organisms. No further information was provided.

Endpoint:
bioaccumulation in aquatic species: algae / cyanobacteria
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Reliability:
4 (not assignable)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
documentation insufficient for assessment
Qualifier:
no guideline available
Principles of method if other than guideline:
Three algae strains were exposed to 3 mg/L lithium for ca. 150 hours. Samples were taken at a regular interval from all three strains to assess the biomass concentration.
GLP compliance:
no
Remarks:
GLP was not indicated in the published data.
Details on sampling:
- Sampling intervals/frequency for test organisms: on a regular basis
Vehicle:
not specified
Test organisms (species):
other: algae (Chlorella vulgaris, Desmodesmus quadricauda, Scenedesmus obliquus)
Details on test organisms:
TEST ORGANISM
- Common name: green algae
- Strain: Chlorella vulgaris Beijerinck P12 (CCALA 924), Desmodesmus quadricauda GREIFSWALD/15 (CCALA 463) and Scenedesmus obliquus LHOTSKY O. 1966/7 (CCALA 453)

ACCLIMATION
- Acclimation period: 150 h
Route of exposure:
aqueous
Test type:
static
Water / sediment media type:
natural water: freshwater
Total exposure / uptake duration:
150 h
Details on test conditions:
TEST SYSTEM
- Test vessel: tubes
- Material, fill volume: glass, 300 mL
- Aeration: 15 L/h

TEST MEDIUM / WATER PARAMETERS
(mg/L):
1100 (NH2)2CO
238 KH2PO4
204 MgSO4.7H2O
40 C10H12O8N2NaFe
88 CaCl2,
0.832 H3BO3
0.946 CuSO4.5H2O
3.294 MnCl2.4H2O
0.172 (NH4)6Mo7O24.4H2O
2.678 ZnSO4.7H2O
0.616 CoSO4.7H2O
0.0014 (NH4)2VO3

OTHER TEST CONDITIONS
- Photoperiod: continuous illumination
- Light intensity: 100 μmol/m2 x s
Nominal and measured concentrations:
3 mg/L nominal
Reference substance (positive control):
not required
Details on estimation of bioconcentration:
BASIS INFORMATION
- Monitoring data

Key result
Conc. / dose:
3 mg/L
Temp.:
30 °C
Type:
other: percent
Basis:
not specified
Remarks on result:
other: Bioaccumulation of Li was negligible in all tested strains.
Validity criteria fulfilled:
not applicable
Conclusions:
Lithium is not regarded as bioaccumulative when applied to the water of three different algae species.
Executive summary:

Three different algae strains (Chlorella vulgaris, Desmodesmus quadricauda, Scenedesmus obliquus) were exposed to 3 mg/L lithium for ca. 150 hours. Algae were kept in glass tubes filled with 300 mL of mineral medium. Tubes were aerated (15L/h) and continuous illumination was applied. Samples were taken at a regular interval from all three strains to assess the biomass concentration. Furthermore 5 mL of the algae suspension was used for subsequent atomic absorption spectroscopy at each sampling time point. The authors concluded that due to the high toxicity of Li, its transfer into algae is rather suppressed. Thus, bioaccumulation can be regarded as neglible.

Endpoint:
bioaccumulation in aquatic species: fish
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment
Principles of method if other than guideline:
- Principle of test: Tissue samples of herring and flounder from the Baltic sea were analysed for lithium.
- Parameters analysed / observed: Muscles, liver and kidney
GLP compliance:
no
Remarks:
GLP was not indicated in the published data.
Radiolabelling:
no
Details on sampling:
- Sample storage conditions before analysis: samples were frozen at -20 °C until analysis
Vehicle:
no
Test organisms (species):
other: Clupea harengus membras L., Platichthys flesus L.
Details on test organisms:
TEST ORGANISM
- Common name: Herring and flounder
- Source: southern Baltic sea
- Total length: 20.5 to 25.5 cm (herring); 28.0 to 32.8 cm (flounder)
- Body weight range: 56 to 124 g (herring); 223 to 416 g (flounder)
Route of exposure:
aqueous
Test type:
field study
Water / sediment media type:
natural water: marine
Details on estimation of bioconcentration:
BASIS INFORMATION
- Monitoring data: lithium concentration in different parts of the fish was divided by the lithium concentration in water
Type:
BCF
Value:
>= 0.053 - <= 0.059 L/kg
Basis:
other: Herring muscle
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: 170 to 190 µg/L lithium in marine water
Remarks:
Lithium concentration in seawater taken from Aral and Vecchio-Sadus (2008)
Type:
BCF
Value:
>= 0.079 - <= 0.088 L/kg
Basis:
other: Herring liver
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: 170 to 190 µg/L lithium in marine water
Remarks:
Lithium concentration in seawater taken from Aral and Vecchio-Sadus (2008)
Type:
BCF
Value:
>= 0.089 - <= 0.1 L/kg
Basis:
other: Flounder muscle
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: 170 to 190 µg/L lithium in marine water
Remarks:
Lithium concentration in seawater taken from Aral and Vecchio-Sadus (2008)
Type:
BCF
Value:
>= 0.232 - <= 0.259 L/kg
Basis:
other: Flounder kidneys
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: 170 to 190 µg/L lithium in marine water
Remarks:
Lithium concentration in seawater taken from Aral and Vecchio-Sadus (2008)
Type:
BCF
Value:
>= 0.053 - <= 0.059 L/kg
Basis:
other: Flounder liver
Calculation basis:
steady state
Remarks on result:
other: 170 to 190 µg/L lithium in marine water
Remarks:
Lithium concentration in seawater taken from Aral and Vecchio-Sadus (2008)
Validity criteria fulfilled:
not applicable
Conclusions:
Mean lithium concentrations in muscles, kidneys, and liver of flounder were 0.017 ± 0.007 mg/kg wwt, 0.044 ± <0.001 mg/kg wwt and 0.010 ± 0.009 mg/kg wwt, respectively. Concentrations in the Baltic herring are 0.010 ± 0.010 mg/kg wwt for muscles and 0.015 ± <0.001 mg/kg wwt for liver. Lithium was not determined in the herring kidneys.
Executive summary:

Pokorska et al. (2012) determined the mean lithium concentrations in flounders (muscles, kidney, liver) and herrings (muscles, liver). The fish was sampled in the southern Baltic sea. Twenty individuals of each species were used for analysis. The lithium content was determined by ICP-AES after digestion of the respective fish organs/parts. The following concentrations were determined:

Species

Muscle (mg/kg wwt)

Liver (mg/kg wwt)

Kidneys (mg/kg wwt)

Flounder

0.017 ± 0.007

0.044 ± 0.001

0.010 ± 0.009

Herring

0.010 ± 0.010

0.015 ± 0.001

Not determined

 

When using a mean lithium concentration of 170 to 190 µg/L in seawater (Aral and Vecchio-Sadus, 2008), the calculated BCFs are all below 1 (between 0.01 and 0.1).

Description of key information

Lithium is expected to have a low potential for bioaccumulation, with a BCF of around 8 L/kg in freshwater fish. Considering that the anionic part of the salts is being either natural or chemically indistinguishable from natural substances, lithium salts are not considered to bioaccumulate in the aquatic environment.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

BCF (aquatic species):
8 L/kg ww

Additional information

No study is available for the bioaccumulation in aquatic species of lithium nitrate.

The bioaccumulation endpoint could be waived if the substance has a low potential for bioaccumulation, as indicated by a log Kow of less than 3. However, due to the inorganic nature of the test substance the octanol-water partition coefficient could not be measured.

In general the anionic part of the lithium salts is either natural or chemically indistinguishable from natural substances. Anionic parts like carbonate, chloride or nitrate can be found ubiquitous in nature. As the lithium ion is the relevant moiety bioaccumulation data are presented here for the lithium component only.

Several publications are available with lithium and lithium chloride including non GLP and non guideline tests that have been published in peer reviewed journals. All of the publications show limitations in design and reporting. Thus, the data was assessed in a weight of evidence approach.

Kastanek et al. (2015) used three different algae species (Chlorella vulgaris, Desmodesmus quadricauda, Scenedesmus obliquus) to determine a bioaccumulation potential for lithium. Algae were exposed to 3 mg/L lithium for 150 hours. They were kept in glass tubes filled with 300 mL of mineral medium. Tubes were aerated (15L/h) and continuous illumination was applied. Samples were taken at a regular interval from all three strains to assess the biomass concentration. Furthermore 5 mL of the algae suspension was used for subsequent atomic absorption spectroscopy at each sampling time point. The authors concluded that due to the high toxicity of Li, its transfer into algae is rather suppressed. Thus, bioaccumulation can be regarded as neglible.

Antonkiewicz et al. (2017) treated a terrestrial plant under hydroponic conditions. Maize ( Zea mays L., family: Poaceae) was treated with nutrient solution including lithium at concentrations of 1, 2, 4, 6, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256 mg Li/L under hydroponic conditions. Maize seeds were germinated and afterwards sown into plastic trays filled with river sand. Moisture content of the substratum was kept at 50 % of the maximum water capacity. After reaching an appropriate size plants were moved to a growing container filled with water for acclimatisation. 16 plants were placed in each container. The level of liquid was checked periodically and each container was constantly aerated. Lithium was added to the nutrient solution after 4 weeks (plants had developed a typical aquatic root system). Harvest was performed after two months. The determined BAF values were all around 9 to 16 over the different dosing groups. Thus, lithium cannot be regarded as bioaccumulative.

The review article (Karlsson et al. 2002) of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co cites bioaccumulation data from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, USA. A bioaccumulation factor of 1 was listed for the edible parts of both marine and freshwater fish. No further information was provided on this value. They further note that a 10-fold error is likely according to a review of other available data. Nonetheless, the reported values can be considered as low.

Barber et al. (2006) determined the bioconcentration factor in two different fish species (Tilapia, Gambusia). Water and fish samples were taken from constructed secondary effluent wastewater wetlands. The lithium concentration in water as well as in whole Gambusia and fillets and livers of Tilapia were determined. A lithium concentration between 56 and 59 µg/L was measured with ICP-MS. Based on the measured data a BCF in Gambusia (whole body) of 5 L/kg and in Tilapia of 2 L/kg (fillet) and 8 L/kg (liver) was calculated. The publication shows limits in design and/or reporting, however follows general scientific principles and was thus considered relevant for a weight of evidence regarding bioaccumulation of lithium.

Pokorska et al. (2012) determined the mean lithium concentrations in flounders (muscles, kidney, liver) and herrings (muscles, liver). The fish was sampled in the southern Baltic sea. Twenty individuals of each species were used for analysis. The lithium content was determined by ICP-AES after digestion of the respective fish organs/parts. The following concentrations were determined

Species

Muscle (mg/kg wwt)

Liver (mg/kg wwt)

Kidneys (mg/kg wwt)

Flounder

0.017 ± 0.007

0.044 ± 0.001

0.010 ± 0.009

Herring

0.010 ± 0.010

0.015 ± 0.001

Not determined

 

When using a mean lithium concentration of 170 to 190 µg/L in seawater (Aral and Vecchio-Sadus, 2008), the calculated BCFs are all below 1 (between 0.01 and 0.1).

Conclusions

Although none of the above studies follow standard guidelines, the available data indicate that the lithium component of the inorganic salts is expected to have a low bioaccumulation potential. Considering that the anionic part of the salts is being either natural or chemically indistinguishable from natural substances, lithium salts are not considered to bioaccumulate in the aquatic environment and subsequently are not expected to pose a risk of secondary poisoning.