Considering the importance of bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) in risk assessment of chemicals and the ethical issues and complexity of the determination of these factors in standard tests with living organisms, there is a need for alternative approaches for predicting bioaccumulation. In this study, liposome-water partitioning coefficients as determined by using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) were evaluated for the cause of assessing bioaccumulation potential of hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs). To this end, the SPME method was mapped (in terms of mass balance, mode of spiking, kinetics, and reproducibility) and validated against literature data. Furthermore, the robustness of liposomes as partitioning phase was investigated (in terms of chemical loading, and pH and ionic strength of the medium), and finally liposome-water partition coefficients (K(lipw)) determined for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs; 4.5 <logK(ow) <7.2) were compared with literature BAF values for several aquatic species. The results indicated that (i) SPME is a valid, fast, and reproducible method for measuring K(lipw) values; (ii) liposomes provide a very robust partitioning phase; and (iii) K(lipw) values agreed very well with literature PAH BAF values. SPME-derived K(lipw) values therefore seem a very promising predictor of bioaccumulation potential of HOCs. By including model- or in vitro-derived biotransformation rates, bioaccumulation potential estimates might be converted into surrogate BAFs, thereby extending the applicability of K(lipw) values to metabolizable chemicals and species with more advanced biotransformation capacity
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