Use of terrestrial field studies in the derivation of bioaccumulation potential of chemicals

N.W. van den Brink*, J.A. Arblaster, S.R. Bowman, J.M. Conder, J.E. Elliott, M.S. Johnson, D.C.G. Muir, Tiago Natal-da-Luz, B.A. Rattner, B.E. Sample, R.F. Shore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Field-based studies are an essential component of research addressing the behavior of organic chemicals, and a unique line of evidence that can be used to assess bioaccumulation potential in chemical registration programs and aid in development of associated laboratory and modeling efforts. To aid scientific and regulatory discourse on the application of terrestrial field data in this manner, this article provides practical recommendations regarding the generation and interpretation of terrestrial field data. Currently, biota-to-soil-accumulation factors (BSAFs), biomagnification factors (BMFs), and bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) are the most suitable bioaccumulation metrics that are applicable to bioaccumulation assessment evaluations and able to be generated from terrestrial field studies with relatively low uncertainty. Biomagnification factors calculated from field-collected samples of terrestrial carnivores and their prey appear to be particularly robust indicators of bioaccumulation potential. The use of stable isotope ratios for quantification of trophic relationships in terrestrial ecosystems needs to be further developed to resolve uncertainties associated with the calculation of terrestrial trophic magnification factors (TMFs). Sampling efforts for terrestrial field studies should strive for efficiency, and advice on optimization of study sample sizes, practical considerations for obtaining samples, selection of tissues for analysis, and data interpretation is provided. Although there is still much to be learned regarding terrestrial bioaccumulation, these recommendations provide some initial guidance to the present application of terrestrial field data as a line of evidence in the assessment of chemical bioaccumulation potential and a resource to inform laboratory and modeling efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Biomagnification factors
  • Biota-to-soil-accumulation factors
  • BMF
  • BSAF
  • Chemical bioaccumulation
  • Terrestrial food web
  • TMF
  • Trophic magnification factors


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