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Reliable and representative in silico predictions of freshwater ecotoxicological hazardous concentrations

Abstract : A reliable quantification of the potential effects of chemicals on freshwater ecosystems requires ecotoxicological response data for a large set of species which is typically not available in practice. In this study, we propose a method to estimate hazardous concentrations (HCs) of chemicals on freshwater ecosystems by combining two in silico approaches: quantitative structure activity relationships (QSARs) and interspecies correlation estimation (ICE) models. We illustrate the principle of our QSAR-ICE method by quantifying the HCs of 51 chemicals at which 50% and 5% of all species are exposed above the concentration causing acute effects. We assessed the bias of the HCs, defined as the ratio of the HC based on measured ecotoxicity data and the HC based on in silico data, as well as the statistical uncertainty, defined as the ratio of the 95th and 5th percentile of the HC. Our QSAR-ICE method resulted in a bias that was comparable to the use of measured data for three species, as commonly used in effect assessments: the average bias of the QSAR-ICE HC50 was 1.2 and of the HC5 2.3 compared to 1.2 when measured data for three species were used for both HCs. We also found that extreme statistical uncertainties (> 10 5) are commonly avoided in the HCs derived with the QSAR-ICE method compared to the use of three measurements with statistical uncertainties up to 10 12. We demonstrated the applicability of our QSAR-ICE approach by deriving HC50s for 1,223 out of the 3,077 organic chemicals of the USEtox database. We conclude that our QSAR-ICE method can be used to determine HCs without the need for additional in vivo testing to help prioritise which chemicals with no or few ecotoxicity data require more thorough assessment.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 10:49:27 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:02:31 AM
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Mélanie Douziech, Ad M.J. Ragas, Rosalie van Zelm, Rik Oldenkamp, A. Hendriks, et al.. Reliable and representative in silico predictions of freshwater ecotoxicological hazardous concentrations. Environment International, Elsevier, 2020, 134, pp.105334. ⟨10.1016/j.envint.2019.105334⟩. ⟨hal-02441812⟩

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