Scaling relationships based on partition coefficients and body sizes have similarities and interactions

Kooijman, S. A. L. M., Baas, J., Bontje, D., Broerse, M., Jager, T., Gestel, C. van and Hattum, B. van 2007.
Scaling relationships on based on partition coefficients and body sizes have similarities and interactions.
SAR and QSAR in Environ. Res. 18: 315--330


The LC50 of compounds with a similar biological effect, at a given exposure period, is frequently plotted log-log against the octanol-water partition coefficient and a straight line is fitted for interpolation purposes. This is also frequently done for physiological properties, such as the weight-specific respiration rate, as function of the body weight of individuals. This paper focuses on the remarkable observation that theoretical explanations for these relationships also have strong similarities. Both can be understood as result of the covariation of the values of parameters of models of a particular type for the underlying processes, while this covariation follows logically from the model structure. The one-compartment model for the uptake and elimination of compounds by organisms is basic to the BioConcentration Factor (BCF), or the partition coefficient; the standard Dynamic Energy Budget model is basic to the (ultimate) body size. The BCF is the ratio of the uptake and the elimination rates; the maximum body length is the ratio of the assimilation (i.e. uptake of resources) and the maintenance (i.e. use of resources) rates. This paper discusses some shortcomings of descriptive approaches and conceptual aspects of theoretical explanations. The strength of the theory is in the combination of why metabolic transformation depends both on the BCF and the body size. We illustrate the application of the theory with several data sets from the literature.

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