Bioconcentration of Several Series of Cationic Surfactants in Rainbow Trout
Cationic surfactants have a strong affinity to sorb to phospholipid membranes and thus possess an inherent potential to bioaccumulate, but there are few measurements of bioconcentration in fish. We measured the bioconcentration of 10 alkylamines plus two quaternary ammonium compounds in juvenile rainbow trout at pH 7.6, and repeated the measurements at pH 6.2 for 6 of these surfactants. The BCF of the amines with chain lengths ≤ C14 was positively correlated with chain length, increasing ∼0.5 log units per carbon. Their BCF was also pH dependent and approximately proportional to the neutral fraction of the amine in the water. The BCFs of the quaternary ammonium compounds showed no pH dependence and were >2 orders of magnitude less than for amines of the same chain length at pH 7.6. This indicates that systemic uptake of permanently charged cationic surfactants is limited. The behavior of the quaternary ammonium compounds and the two C16 amines studied was consistent with previous observations that these surfactants accumulate primarily to the gills and external surfaces of the fish. At pH 7.6 the BCF exceeded 2000 L kg–1 for 4 amines with chains ≥ C13, showing that bioconcentration can be considerable for some longer chained cationic surfactants.