Bioaccumulation: Why Fukushima Matters


Submitted by Lucas Whitefiel… [2] on Tue, 04/26/2011 – 18:09

Bioaccumulation:  Why Fukushima Matters

What is Bioaccumulation?

Simply Stated -
All living organisms are connected to each other through a food chain.  It
takes more organisms in the beginning of a food chain to support a
smaller number of organisms at the end of the chain.  Where
bioaccumulation refers to how pollutants enter a food chain;
biomagnification refers to the tendency of pollutants to concentrate as
they move from one trophic level to the next, up the “food chain.”

  • Bioaccumulation refers to how pollutants enter a food chain
  • Biomagnification refers to the tendency of pollutants to concentrate

A Deeper Definition

  • Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of substances, such as pesticides, or other organic chemicals in an organism. [1] [4] Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance [5] at a rate greater than that at which the substance is lost. Thus, the longer the biological half-life [6] of the substance the greater the risk of chronic poisoning, even if environmental levels of the toxin are not very high.[2] [7]
  • Bioaccumulation -
    The biological sequestering of a substance at a higher concentration
    than that at which it occurs in the surrounding environment or medium.
    Also, the process whereby a substance enters organisms through the
    respiratory tract, gills, epithelial tissues, dietary, or other sources.

Other Terms To Know

  1. Uptake, the
    entrance of a chemical into an organism — by breathing, swallowing, or
    absorbing it through the skin — without regard to its subsequent
    storage, metabolism, and excretion by that organism.
  2. Storage, temporary deposit of a chemical in body tissue or in an organ.
  3. Biomagnification, a process that results in the accumulation of a chemical in an organism at higher levels than are found in its food. This occurs when a chemical increases in concentration as it moves up through a food chain.
    1. Biomagnification describes
      a process that results in the accumulation of a chemical in an organism
      at higher levels than are found in its food. It occurs when a chemical
      becomes more and more concentrated as it moves up through a food chain
      – the dietary linkages between single-celled plants and increasingly
      larger animal species.
    2. Biomagnification in
      the aquatic food chain often leads to biomagnification in terrestrial
      food chains, particularly in the case of bird and wildlife populations
      that feed on fish.
  1. Elimination, whether
    an organism can break down or excrete a chemical.  Chemicals that
    dissolve in fat but not in water tend to take longer to be eliminated by
    the body, and have a greater potential to accumulate.

Examples of Biomagnification:

Biomagnification examples and much more here:

http://lucaswhitefieldhixson.com/bioaccumulation-why-fukushima-matters

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