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Environmental fate & pathways

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Bioaccumulation of ammonia in biota is not considered of importance in the environment as it does not accumulate in lipid-rich tissues in the same manner as organic chemicals, even though levels of ammonia in the blood of exposed animals may increase following exposures.

Ammonia is ubiquitous in the aquatic environment as a consequence of the breakdown of plant and animal material and due to animal excretory processes. The generation of ammonia by normal metabolism (protein catabolism) occurs in all animal species, and therefore all animal species have developed effective physiological mechanisms of detoxification (metabolism to other nitrogenous compounds) or excretion. In fresh water fish, ammonia is excreted across the branchial epithelium via passive diffusion.