Implications of in vitro bioaccessibility differences for the assessment of risks of metals to bats

Béatrice V Hernout, Sarah R Bowman, Robert J Weaver, Channaka J Jayasinghe, Alistair B A Boxall

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Food chain modelling is often used to assess the risks of chemical contaminants to wildlife. In the modelling, it is often assumed that bioaccessibility from different dietary components is similar. The present study, therefore explored differences in the in vitro bioaccessibility of metals from a range of insect orders, which are common components of the diet of insectivorous bats, and assessed the implications of this for environmental exposure assessment. The bioaccessibility of metals was assessed using an in vitro gastric model simulating gastric and intestinal conditions of insectivorous bats. Generally, in vitro-derived bioaccessibility of metals was found to differ significantly across insect orders. Bioaccessibility was found to be greatest in Coleoptera, followed by Lepidoptera and Diptera. To establish the implications for risk assessment, a spatially-explicit risk model was run, both including and not including the in vitro bioaccessibility data, to assess the daily oral exposure of metals to 14 bat species. The results show that when bioaccessibility data are included in the modelling, metal exposure predictions across species are changed and that the ranking of bat species, in terms of metal exposure, are altered. We therefore recommend that in vitro bioaccessibility data begin to be employed when establishing the risks of contaminants to wildlife species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2014

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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