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Environmental fate & pathways

Bioaccumulation: aquatic / sediment

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BCF (aquatic) endpoint summary:


BCFs for fish and phytoplankton are generally less than 100, whereas a few BCF for crustacea were between 100 and 360 and around 500 in a brown macroalgae. In bivalves bioaccumulation factors are generally higher. For marine bivalves, i.e., blue mussel and eastern oyster the reported bioaccumulation factors are between 100 and 350 whereas it seems that for another bivalve (the sediment burrowing bivalve Cerastoderma edule) significantly higher factors between 3000 and 60,000 are reported. Only one C. edule BCF for Ni is based on measured tissue concentrations and parallel Ni seawater concentrations. This value, reported by Boyden (1975), was 1631 L/kg. This value was used in the EU RAR for situations where C. edule was a relevant prey item for marine food chains.

An in-depth review of the bioconcentration literature (laboratory tests) has been performed by Brix and DeForest (2000). The investigators concluded that many aquatic animals regulate metals to a varying degree, based on the observation of an inverse relationship between water concentration and the corresponding BCF within a certain concentration range of metal ion in the aqueous phase (1 to 100 μg/l, Brix and DeForest 2000). This inverse relationship has been observed for Ni in fish and molluscs. A negative relationship between Ni BCF and Ni exposure concentrations was observed by McGeer et al. (2003) when they aggregated whole fish tissue data published by Lind et al. (1978) and Blaylock and Frank (1979). Using a generic seawater concentration of 1.2 ug Ni/L, a BCF of 270 L/kg was calculated from this linear relationship. The BCF of 270 L/kg was considered to be a cautious estimate, as under conditions where dissolved Ni concentrations are > 1.2 ug Ni/L, the BCF will be < 270 L/kg. In the absence of other data, this value was used to estimate tissue Ni concentrations for all aquatic organisms (e.g., bivalves, fish, and cephalopods) with the exception of C. edule.