Changes in growth and secondary sex characteristics of fathead minnows exposed to bleached sulfite mill effluent.

Abstract:

:Yellow perch captured downstream of a bleached sulfite mill had reduced gonad size and fecundity, and circulating steroid levels declined in goldfish exposed to final effluent for 21 d. To assess bleached sulfite mill (BSM) effluent, long-term fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) growth and reproduction tests were carried out in a flow-through bioassay trailer at the mill secondary treatment lagoons. Fertilized P. promelas eggs were hatched in effluent (0, 1, 3.2, 10, 32, 50, and 100% final effluent with 10 ng/L ethinylestradiol as a positive control compound) and monitored through to 30, 60, and 125 d posthatch. The effluent caused a significant increase in the growth of fish; this effect was evident within 30 d. Fish had changes in secondary sex characteristics at maturity: Male fish had ovipositors in effluent concentrations as low as 3.2%. Higher effluent concentrations (32-100%) resulted in a majority of fish that looked externally like females. Changes in external sex characteristics were the most sensitive endocrine disruption-specific endpoints and required four months of exposure. Exposure to low BSM effluent concentrations (3.2%) resulted in female fish that had male sex characteristics (tubercles and dorsal fin dots). This masculinization of female fish was statistically significant at 10% effluent and was not seen in control fish. Concentrations of final effluent in the Saint John River (Canada) range from less than 1% to 15%, depending on the season and river flow. The research assesses some of the changes seen in fathead minnows exposed to this complex effluent, and demonstrates a threshold of <10% BSM effluent for the most sensitive effects.

journal_name

Environ Toxicol Chem

authors

Parrott JL,Wood CS,Boutot P,Dunn S

doi

10.1897/02-237

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2003-12-01 00:00:00

pages

2908-15

issue

12

eissn

0730-7268

issn

1552-8618

journal_volume

22

pub_type

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