Toxicity of selenium and other elements in food organisms to razorback sucker larvae

Aquatic Toxicology
By: , and 



Elevated selenium concentrations documented in water, sediment, and biota in irrigation drain water studies by U.S. Department of the Interior agencies and academia have raised concerns that selenium may be adversely affecting endangered fish in the upper Colorado River basin. The objective of the study was to determine the effects on endangered razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) larvae from exposure to selenium and other trace elements in water and zooplankton collected from sites adjacent to the Colorado River near Grand Junction, CO. A 30-day study was initiated with 5-day-old larvae exposed in a 4×4 factor experiment with four food and four water treatments, and the biological endpoints measured were survival, growth, development, and whole-body residues of selenium. Mean selenium concentration in reference water (24-Road) was <0.7 μg/l, in reference food (brine shrimp) was 3.2 μg/g, at Horsethief was 1.6 μg/l in water and 6.0 μg/g in zooplankton, at Adobe Creek was 3.4 μg/l in water and 32 μg/g in zooplankton, and at Walter Walker was 13 μg/l in water and 52 μg/g in zooplankton. Although there were differences in concentrations of inorganic elements in water and biota among the three sites, selenium was apparently the only element elevated to concentrations of concern. Effects on survival were more prominent from dietary exposure compared to waterborne exposure. Selenium concentrations of ≥4.6 μg/g in food organisms adversely affected the survival of razorback sucker larvae. The onset of mortality in larvae exposed to food and water from Walter Walker seemed delayed compared to mortality in larvae exposed to food and water from Horsethief, which has been observed in two other studies. Elevated arsenic in one food source seemed to interact with selenium to reduce the toxic effects of selenium.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Toxicity of selenium and other elements in food organisms to razorback sucker larvae
Series title Aquatic Toxicology
DOI 10.1016/S0166-445X(01)00257-0
Volume 59
Issue 3-4
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 29 p.
First page 253
Last page 281
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Colorado River
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