Quantitative structure-activity relationships of comparative toxicity to aquatic organisms
Quantitative Structure-Activity relationship (QSAR) attempt statistically to relate the physico-chemical properties of a molecule to its biological activity. A QSAR analysis was performed on the toxicities of up to 75 organic chemicals to two aquatic species, Photobacterium phospherum (known as the Microtox test), and the fathead minnow. To model the toxicities 49 physico-chemical and structural parameters were produced including measures of hydrophobicity, molecular size and electronic effects from techniques such as computational chemistry and the use of molecular connectivity indices. These were reduced to a statistically more manageable number by cluster analysis, principal component analysis, factor analysis, and canonical correlation analysis. The de-correlated data were then used to form relationships with the toxicities. All the techniques were validated using a testing set. Some good predictions of toxicity came from regression analysis of the original de-correlated variables. Although successful in simplifying the complex data matrix, principal component analysis, factor analysis, and canonical content analysis were disappointing as predictors of toxicity. The performance of each of the statistical techniques is discussed. The inter-species relationships of toxicity between four Commonly utilised aquatic endpoints, fathead minnow 96 hour IC50, Microtox 5 minute EC50, Daphnia magna 48 hour IC50, and Tetrahymena pyriformis 60 hour IG50, were investigated. Good relationships was found between the fathead minnow and both T. pyriformis and D. magna toxicities indicating that these species could be used to model fish toxicity. The outliers from individual relationships were assessed in order to elucidate if any molecular features may be causing greater relative toxicity in one species as compared to another. It is concluded that in addition to the intrinsic differences between species, the greater length of the test time for any species may result in increases bioaccumulation, metabolism, and detoxification of certain chemical classes. The relationships involving fish toxicity were moderately improved by the addition of a hydrophobic parameter.