This study evaluated the potential effects of different concentrations of bleached/unbleached kraft mill effluent (B/UKME) on several reproductive endpoints in adult largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). The kraft mill studied produces a 50/50 mix of bleached/unbleached market pulp with an estimated release of 36 million gal of efffluent/day. Bleaching sequences were C90d10EopHDp and CEHD for softwood (pines) and hardwoods (mainly tupelo, gums, magnolia, and water oaks), respectively. Bass were exposed to different effluent concentrations (0 [controls, exposed to well water], 10, 20, 40, or 80%) for either 28 or 56 days. At the end of each exposure period, fish were euthanized, gonads collected for histological evaluation and determination of gonadosomatic index (GSI), and plasma was analyzed for 17??-estradiol, 11-ketotestosterone, and vitellogenin (VTG). Largemouth bass exposed to B/UKME responded with changes at the biochemical level (decline in sex steroids in both sexes and VTG in females) that were usually translated into tissue/organ-level responses (declines in GSI in both sexes and in ovarian development in females). Although most of these responses occurred after exposing fish to 40% B/UKME concentrations or greater, some were observed after exposures to 20% B/UKME. These threshold concentrations fall within the 60% average yearly concentration of effluent that exists in the stream near the point of discharge (Rice Creek), but are above the <10% effluent concentration present in the St. Johns River. The chemical(s) responsible for such changes as well as their mode(s) of action remain unknown at this time.
Additional Publication Details
Assessment of reproductive effects in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) exposed to bleached/unbleached kraft mill effluents
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology