Following the introduction of automobile catalysts in the middle of the 1980s in Germany there is an increasing emission of the platinum-group-metals platinum, palladium (Pd) and rhodium. Still, it remains unclear if these metals are bioavailable for aquatic animals and to which extent they become accumulated by the aquatic biosphere. Because of analytical problems in detecting Pd in small biological samples the present investigation concentrates on the bioavailability of this metal. To answer the question of a Pd uptake by aquatic organisms experimental studies were conducted with European eels maintained in water containing road dust at a concentration of 10 kg/100 l. Following an exposure period of four weeks, samples of liver and kidney were analysed by total-reflection X-ray fluorescence analysis after co-precipitation of Pd with mercury. These experiments revealed an uptake of traffic related Pd by European eels which showed a mean liver Pd concentration of 0.18±0.05 ng/g (wet wt.), whereas the Pd concentration in the kidney ranged below the detection limit. Thus, in this study we can demonstrate for the first time that automobile catalyst emitted Pd is bioavailable for aquatic animals.