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Bioaccumulation

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The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ) does not include the term bioaccumulation in your dictionary The concept, however, is often used in the field of toxicology to name a process that develops in the living beings and that implies that these organisms accumulate chemicals until reaching a higher concentration than those existing in the environment.

Bioaccumulation can be generated through resources Biotics (living organisms) or abiotic (like water or air). Digestion and respiration are two ways of bioaccumulation.

Mercury compounds, dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT) and heptachlor are some of the substances that can lead to bioaccumulation. When this occurs process , the organism absorbs substances and stores them in its tissues, without achieving their elimination through metabolic action. It is said that these living beings act as bioindicators since they allow to know the presence of pollutants in the environment.

It is possible to notice bioaccumulation in numerous aquatic organisms. The sharks , by ingesting many fish, they end up absorbing high doses of heavy metals, which remain in their woven and that can generate intoxication.

It can be said, in short, that bioaccumulation is the accumulation in a living being of a chemical that persists over time, acquired by the body through the intake of other organisms or through contact with the environment. This accumulation, with the food chain, reaches a level higher than the concentration of the substance in the environment .

One of the concepts that appear in this context is that of biomagnification , a phenomenon that is characterized by transmission of bioaccumulation through the food web (also known as trophic network or food cycle): When a living being is predated, the predatory organism goes to house the contaminants of the first. Thus, as the food cycle rises, the concentration of contaminants increases.

The main sources of contaminants are oil refineries and mining industries , which carry out discharges in the water systems that modify the ecosystem unnecessarily and harmfully, forcing aquatic organisms to participate in the bioaccumulation of mercury and heavy metals, among other harmful substances. The reason for this phenomenon is that the pollutants mentioned are hydrophobic, so they tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of living things.

As mentioned above, these pollutants do not degrade easily, and that is why they are also known as organic pollutants persistent. This feature allows them to travel great distances across the ocean, and very often they are noticed on various beaches.

The human being has been located at the top of the trophic network, even if it is not using weapons and artificial processes. But - like it or not - everything is paid, and bioaccumulation is one of the phenomena that prove this inevitable way that life has to charge us for our bad acts: all the pollutants that we throw into the sea negatively affect aquatic living beings but, as we later catch them to eat them, we finally ingest the high concentrations of metals to which We submit at first.

Needless to say, this does not follow a movement of awareness that leads the human being to cease the abuse animal and start feeding on vegetables, as vegans do; on the contrary, it simply causes you to try to reduce by the means that the presence of mercury in animals is in no way stop tasting at your table. It should be mentioned that one of the consequences of the consumption of these contaminants is the alteration of mental abilities.

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