A micelle inhibition model for the bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in aquatic systems

Seok S. Park, Jae Woo Park, Christopher Uchrin, Marcos A. Cheney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A mathematical model was developed to quantify micelle suppression on the bioavailability of hydrophobic organic compounds in aquatic systems. The model was based on a three-compartment dynamic system in which the hydrophobic compounds are taken up and eliminated by organisms with an equilibrium partitioning between water and micelle. The model was validated against data obtained from in vitro studies of the bioaccumulation of naphthalene, anthracene, and chrysene into the gills of the freshwater mussel (Ellipto complanata) in the presence of a surfactant (Tween 80). The model predictions agreed well with the experimental results for all three chemicals. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine model responses to the surfactant parameters. From the model, we derive an equation for a bioconcentration factor in aquatic surfactant systems to predict the maximum concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in aquatic organisms. From these results, we also propose a micelle inhibition factor for bioconcentration that is a function of the surfactant concentration, critical micelle concentration, and partition coefficient of hydrophobic compounds between water and micelle. Knowledge of these parameters may improve understanding of the partitioning of PAHs into organisms in the presence of surfactants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2737-2741
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Bioaccumulation model
  • Bioavailability
  • Micelle inhibition factor
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Surfactants


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