Yearling bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) were exposed to sublethal concentrations of [14C]rotenone (5.2 μg/l) for 30 days in a continuous flow exposure system and then transferred to clean, flowing water for an additional 21-day depuration period. Rates of uptake and elimination and profile of the rotenoid metabolites in head, viscera, and carcass components were evaluated by 14C counting and by high performance liquid chromatography. Total [14C]rotenone derived activity was relatively uniform in all body components within 3 days after initial exposure and remained constant during the ensuing 27 days of exposure. Initial uptake rate coefficients were highest in viscera (Ku = 80· h -1) and were nearly identical for head (Ku = 14 · h) and carcass (Ku = 10 · h-1). Analyses of tissue extracts by high performance liquid chromatography confirmed the presence of at least six biotransformation products of rotenone. More than 60% of the activity extracted from viscera was present as a single peak which represented a compound that was extremely soluble in water. Rotenone composed only 0.3% of the extractable activity in viscera taken from fish exposed to rotenone for 30 days; however, rotenone accounted for 15.4% of extractable activity in the head and 20.1% in the carcass components. Rotenolone and 6',7'-dihydro-6'-,7'--dihydroxyrotenolone were tentatively identified as oxidation products in all tissue extracts. Elimination of 14C activity from all body components was biphasic; both phases followed first-order kinetics. The rate of elimination was nearly equal for all body components during the initial phase but was most rapid from viscera during the second phase of elimination. Bioconcentration factors for the head, viscera, and carcass were 165, 3,550, and 125, respectively, when calculated on the basis of total 14C activity but only 25.4, 11, and 26 when calculated as the concentration of parent material.
Additional publication details
Uptake, biotransformation, and elimination of rotenone by bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus )