Ecological Risk Characterization of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Subsurface: Bioavailability, Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification


Environmental Restoration (ER) Program Area 

The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to improve our understanding of bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the subsurface. Specifically, the goal was to address the following research areas of interest:

  • Improved understanding of the uptake and excretion rates of PFASs by organisms throughout the food web to at least include competitive uptake and/or selective bioaccumulation at different trophic levels.
  • Determine the rate and extent of PFAS uptake from soils and water by lower-trophic level organisms, along with the potential biotransformation of perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) precursors, in order to determine the relevant mixtures for further study with higher-trophic level organisms.
  • Identification of physical and geochemical factors affecting bioavailability of PFASs in sediments and soils.
  • Compare the potency of PFASs in relation to chain length, functional group, and varying levels of fluorination.
  • Assess PFAS bioaccumulation/biomagnification throughout a food web.

The projects listed below were selected to address the objectives of this SON. Additional information on individual projects will be available soon.

Research should lead to a better understanding of the environmental impact of AFFF-impacted sites and directly impact the DoD’s ability to manage these sites more cost effectively while being protective of human health and the environment.