We report here on studies designed to asses the effects of paper mill effluents on non-reproductive functions of free-ranging and captive Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) This was accomplished by conducting an outdoor tank study, in which fish were exposed to well water or to 10%, 20%, 40%, and 80% full strength effluent for 28 or 56 days, and by sampling largemouth bass from sites within the St. Johns River, Florida, upstream and downstream from a paper mill plant. Blood and plasma samples from fish from the tank study and from fish sampled from the ambient sites were analyzed for over 20 variables. We also determined liver and spleen weights and examined them histologically. The most significant finding from the tank study was an increase in the concentration of albumin and hepatosomatic index for bass exposed to ???20% effluents for 56 days. Spleenosomatic index and number of melanomacrophage centers were decreased in bass from effluent-dominated sites (Palatka and Rice Creek), whereas concentrations of calcium, phosphorous, glucose, and creatinine were elevated in fish from these sites, compared to fish from reference streams. Fish from Rice Creek also had fewer red blood cells, and male bass from Palatka had lower concentrations of cholesterol. Plasma concentrations of albumin and hepatic concentrations of glutathione were elevated in males from Palatka, and both females and males from Rice Creek had higher concentrations of globulin. These results indicate a complex pattern of effects of paper mill effluents on several physiological functions. However, despite the myriad of treatment and site-related effects, most physiological parameters fell within normal ranges when compared to reports on largemouth bass and other freshwater species.
Additional publication details
Physiological changes in largemouth bass exposed to paper mill effluents under laboratory and field conditions