Bioaccumulation

Authored by: Tomaz Langenbach

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-100200060

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Abstract

Bioaccumulation is the equilibrium process in which the uptake of substances in biota reaches much higher concentrations than those occurring in the environments. In literature, a clear definition of the characteristics that identify the substances that are able or unable to bioaccumulate is not found. The most common use of this term is related to hazardous substances such as heavy metals or predominantly nonpolar xenobiotics. Many of these substances are in low concentrations in the environment and the severity of the poisoning effect is mainly due to bioaccumulation up to high concentrations in the organism. The poisoning effects in animals are quite diverse but the most common ones observed are related to the nervous system, which can lead to death.

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