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EC number: 204-677-5
CAS number: 124-07-2
Bioconcentration and bioaccumulation are considered to be the
partitioning of compounds between the lipid phase of an organism and
water (Veith, 1979).Chemicals accumulate in organisms when they were
taken up and stored in tissues of organism faster than were metabolised
or excreted. Faty acids occur naturally in all aquatic organisms and are
ubiquitous in the aquatic environment. Furthermore, fatty acids are
rapidly biodegraded in the environment by microorganisms.
Microbial metabolism is the primary route of degradation in aquatic
environment. As nutritional energy source, fatty acids are absorbed by
different uptake mechanisms in mammals depending on the chain length.
Short- and medium chain fatty acids (C1 - C12) are rapidly absorbed via
intestine capillaries into the blood stream. In contrast, long chain
fatty acids (>C12) are absorbed into the walls of the intestinevilli and
assembled into triglycerides, which then are transported in the blood
stream via lipoprotein particles (chylomicrons). In the body, fatty
acids are metabolised by various routes to provide energy. Besides this,
fatty acids are stored as lipids in adipose tissue and as precursors
for signalling molecules and even long chain fatty acids. In addition
fatty acids are an integral part of the cell membranes of every living
origanism from bacteria and algae to higher plants. Fatty acids are
known to be easily metabolised. The rate of metabolism of fatty acids
was considered to vary in proportion to their water solubility
(Lloyd, 1957). Odle (1989) investigated the utilisation of triglyceride
containing medium chain (C8, C9 and C10) and long chain (> C16) of fatty
acids in pigs within 48 h. The results showed that the medium chain
fatty acids may be better utilized than long chain fatty acids, where
the maximum concentrations of 3-OH-butyrat (BHBA) in blood and plasma
medium chain fatty acids reached 2 hours after forced-feeding.
To understand how muscle lipid metabolism is regulated in fish, using
sarcolemmal vesicles isolated from both red and white muscle fibers and
palmitate as a representative long chain fatty acid (LCFA), Richards et
al. (2002, 2004) were able to demonstrate that LCFA uptake by both trout
red and white muscle is via a protein mediated carrier, which may share
some similarities with the mammalian counterpart (e.g., SSO
sensitivity). Although the maximal uptake rate of vesicles from red
fibers was about twice that of white fibers, the affinities of the two
for palmitate were similar. However, in contrasts with what is seen in
mammals, as palmitate uptake by vesicles from both red and white muscle
was not increased with the enhance of lipid use.
A non-GLP but well documented fish accumulation study is available on a
C12 fatty acid –sodium laurate (van Egmond, 1999), in which showed
negligible evidence of bioaccumulation potential in fish tissue with an
estimated BFC of 255 L/kg after 28 days exposure. Furthermore, of
various fatty acids tested, uptake is highest with the long-chain acids
(G-G), with no marked difference due to unsaturation. Un-saturated acids
(oleic and linoleic) and a short-chain acid (caprylic) are partly
adsorbed to fish muscle proteins so strongly that they cannot be
extracted with acid isopropanolheptane (Czub, 2007).
The range of log Kow values given suggests that fatty acids with chain
length greater than C12 may be expected to have tendency of a higher
bioaccumulation. However, this takes into account of the physicochemical
properties of chemicals and only indicates intrinsic potential of the
substance, but not of its behaviour in the environment, for instance,
biodegradation, and in living organism, for example, metabolism.
Whereas, a bioconcentration derived from experiments using radiolabelled
compounds, in which differentiation between parent compounds and
metabolites or other breakdown products is not possible. Furthermore, as
fatty acids are the end products of carbohydrate metabolism in living
organisms muscle tissues, an evaluation of anthropogenic distribution
of fatty acids based on the concentrations determined in the organs and
tissues of aquatic organisms may overestimated.
In conclusion, fatty acids do not reveal a risk to aquatic organisms by
their bioconcentration and biomagnification properties. The
bioconcentration factors of fatty acids are generally below the level of
Lloyd, L. E. and Crampton, E. W. (1957). The relation between certain
characteristics of fats and oils and their apparent digestibility by
young pigs, young guinea-pigs and pups. J. Anita. Sci. 16:377.
Veith GD., De Foe DL, Bergstedt BV (1979) Measuring and estimating the
bioconcentration of chemicals in fish. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. 36,
Odle J., et. al. (1989). Utilization of Medium-Chain Triglycerides by
Neonatal Piglets: Effects of Even- and Odd-Chain Triglyceride
Consumption over the First 2 Days of Life on Blood Metabolites and
Urinary, J Anim Sci 1989. 67:3340-3351.
Czub, G., et. al. (2007) Influence of the temperature gradient in
blubber on the bioaccumulation of persistent lipophilic organic
chemicals in seals. Environ. Tox. Chem., Vol. 26, No. 8, pp. 1600–1605.
Richards J, Bonen A, Heigenhauser G, and Wood C. (2004) Palmitate
movement across red and white muscle membranes of rainbow trout. Am J
Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 286: R46–R53.
Richards J, Heigenhauser G, and Wood C. (2002) Lipid oxidation
fuels recovery from exhaustive exercise in white muscle of rainbow
trout. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 282: R89–R99.
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