Salt gland function and osmoregulation in aquatic birds drinking hyperosmotic water has been suggested to be impaired by organophosphorus insecticides. To test this hypothesis, adult black ducks (Anas rubripes) were provided various regimens of fresh or salt (1.5% NaCl) water before, during, and after ingestion of mash containing 21 ppm fenthion. Ducks were bled by jugular venipuncture after I, 7. and 12 days of treatment, and were then killed. Brain and salt gland acetylcholinesterase activities were substantially inhibited (44-61% and 14-36%) by fenthion. However, salt gland weight and Na + -K + -ATPase activity, and plasma Na + , CI- , and osmolality, were uniformly elevated in all groups receiving salt water including those ingesting fenthion. In a second study, salt gland Na + -K + -ATPase activity in mallards (A. platyrhynchos) was not affected after in vitro incubation with either fenthion or fenthion oxon at concentrations ranging from 0.04 to 400 ?M, but was reduced in the presence of 40 and 400 ?M DDE (positive control). These findings suggest that environmentally realistic concentrations of organophosphorus insecticides do not markedly affect osmoregulatory function in adult black ducks.
Additional publication details
Osmoregulatory function in ducks following ingestion of the organophosphorus insecticide fenthion