Triolein-water partition coefficients (KtW) have been determined for 38 slightly water-soluble organic compounds, and their magnitudes have been compared with the corresponding octanol-water partition coefficients (KOW). In the absence of major solvent-solute interaction effects in the organic solvent phase, the conventional treatment (based on Raoult's law) predicts sharply lower partition coefficients for most of the solutes in triolein because of its considerably higher molecular weight, whereas the Flory-Huggins treatment predicts higher partition coefficients with triolein. The data are in much better agreement with the Flory-Huggins model. As expected from the similarity in the partition coefficients, the water solubility (which was previously found to be the major determinant of the KOW) is also the major determinant for the Ktw. When the published BCF values (bioconcentration factors) of organic compounds in fish are based on the lipid content rather than on total mass, they are approximately equal to the Ktw, which suggests at least near equilibrium for solute partitioning between water and fish lipid. The close correlation between Ktw and Kow suggests that Kow is also a good predictor for lipid-water partition coefficients and bioconcentration factors.
Additional publication details
Partition coefficients of organic compounds in lipid-water systems and correlations with fish bioconcentration factors