Integrated assessment of wastewater treatment plant effluent estrogenicity in the Upper Murray River, Australia, using the native Murray rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis)

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

The contamination of major continental river systems by endocrine-active chemicals (EACs) derived from the discharge of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents can affect human and ecosystem health. As part of a long-term effort to develop a native fish model organism for assessment of endocrine disruption in Australia's largest watershed, the Murray-Darling River Basin, the present study evaluated endocrine disruption in adult males of the native Australian Murray rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) exposed to effluent from an activated sludge WWTP and water from the Murray River during a 28-d, continuous-flow, on-site experiment. Analysis of the WWTP effluent and river water detected estrone and 17β-estradiol at concentrations up to approximately 25 ng L−1. Anti-estrogenicity of effluent samples was detected in vitro using yeast-based bioassays (yeast estrogen screen) throughout the experiment, but estrogenicity was limited to the first week of the experiment. Histological evaluation of the testes indicated significant suppression of spermatogenesis by WWTP effluent after 28 d of exposure. Plasma vitellogenin concentrations and expression of vitellogenin messenger RNA in liver were not significantly affected by exposure to WWTP effluent. The combination of low contaminant concentrations in the WWTP effluent, limited endocrine disrupting effects in the Murray rainbowfish, and high in-stream dilution factors (>99%) suggest minimal endocrine disruption impacts on native Australian fish in the Murray River downstream from the WWTP outfall. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Integrated assessment of wastewater treatment plant effluent estrogenicity in the Upper Murray River, Australia, using the native Murray rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis)
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.2895
Volume 34
Issue 5
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier Science
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 10 p.
First page 1078
Last page 1087
Country Australia
Other Geospatial Upper Murray River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N