Biochemical changes in longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis, associated with lead, cadmium and zinc from mine tailings

Journal of Fish Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Longear sunfish were collected from a stream contaminated with mine tailings rich in lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn). Blood samples were analysed for δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALA-D) activity and Pb concentration. Vertebrae were tested for bone strength and composition, and Pb, Zn, and Cd concentrations were determined in muscle tissue. ALA-D activity was negatively correlated with blood Pb concentration (r=–0.66), and enzyme activity was significantly higher and blood Pb significantly lower at the reference site than at the contaminated sites. Blood Pb was highly correlated with Pb in muscle tissue (r= 0.72), and the concentrations of Pb and Cd in muscle tissues were themselves correlated (r= 0.64). In fish from contaminated sites, two of the mechanical properties of the vertebrae measured (elastic limit and modulus of elasticity) were significantly different from values in fish from the reference site. These properties and one other (stress) were weakly correlated with muscle Cd concentration (0.42 < r < 0.46). Biochemical differences among fish from different sites were also evident; concentrations of calcium, phosphorus and collagen were lower in the vertebrae of fish from some of the contaminated sites than at the reference site, and bone phosphorus was negatively correlated with concentrations of Pb in both muscle (r=– 0.62) and blood (r=– 0.75). Collectively, these results indicate that, in addition to the well-documented effects of Pb on haem synthesis, other important biochemical pathways may be disrupted by continuous low-level exposure to elemental contaminants.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Biochemical changes in longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis, associated with lead, cadmium and zinc from mine tailings
Series title Journal of Fish Biology
DOI 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1988.tb05473.x
Volume 33
Issue 2
Year Published 1988
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 307
Last page 317
Country United States
State Missouri