Wild-trapped starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed concentrations of Morsodren (2, 4, and 8 ppm), DDE or Aroclor 1254 (5, 25, and 100 ppm), or malathion (8, 35, and 160 ppm) that were found to be sublethal in pen-reared Coturnix quail fed these amounts for 12 weeks. Plasma enzymes had to be measured earlier than planned in starlings fed Morsodren (at three weeks) or the organochlorine compounds (at seven weeks) because of unexpected, subsequent mortality. Variations in enzyme response were greater in wild than in pen-reared birds, but not enough to mask the toxicant-induced changes in enzyme activity. Cholinesterase activities decreased in birds fed Morsodren or malathion, and increased in those fed the organochlorine compounds. Lactate dehydrogenase activities increased two-fold in starlings fed Morsodren and two- to four-fold in those fed the organochlorine compounds, but only 50% in those fed malathion. Further examination of enzyme profiles showed that creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase activities increased two-to four-fold in birds fed Morsodren or the organochlorine compounds but not at all in those fed malathion. Thus the classes of environmental contaminants fed to starlings could be easily distinguished by these enzymatic parameters. Evaluation of enzymatic profiles appears to be a potentially valuable technique to monitor the presence of toxicants in wild populations, especially if used to complement standard chemical residue analyses. Here the residue analyses showed, after three weeks feeding, that mercury in the carcasses reflected the concentrations fed daily, whereas accumulation in the livers was two- to four-fold greater. After seven weeks feeding, liver residues of either organochlorine compound were about three-fold higher than the concentrations fed daily. However, four times as much DDE as Aroclor 1254 had accumulated in the carcasses.
Additional Publication Details
Further studies on the use of enzyme profiles to monitor residue accumulation in wildlife: Plasma enzymes in starlings fed graded concentrations of morsodren, DDE, Aroclor 1254, and malathion
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology