Timing of exposure to a pulp and paper effluent ...

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Title Timing of exposure to a pulp and paper effluent influences the manifestation of reproductive effects in rainbow trout
Author(s) Michael R. van den Heuvel, R. J. Ellis
Journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry / SETAC
Date 2002
Volume 21
Issue 11
Start page 2338
End page 2347
Abstract Rainbow trout were exposed to a secondary treated, thermomechanical/bleached kraft pulp and paper effluent in 12,000-L, flow-through exposure tanks at an environmental research facility located at a pulp and paper mill in Kawerau, New Zealand. Trout (age, 2+ years) were obtained from a local hatchery and exposed either to upstream river water or a nominal concentration of 12% (v/v) effluent diluted in upstream river water. Three treatment groups were used: Effluent exposure that started approximately three months before gonadal growth (eight-month total exposure), effluent exposure that started approximately halfway through gonadal development (two-month total exposure), and trout exposed to reference water alone for the total duration of the experiment. Trout were sacrificed just before spawning; exposure, growth, and reproductive endpoints were assessed during and at the termination of the experiment. Reduction in growth was observed in both sexes in the eight-month treatment group relative to the river water reference treatment group. No differences were observed in condition factor or liver size in either treatment. Females in the eight-month exposure group also had significantly lower ovary weight. The two-month exposure group showed no differences from the reference group in growth or somatic indices. Estradiol and testosterone were reduced in blood samples taken from the eight-month exposure group by four months into the experiment as compared to the reference treatment. Steroid and vitellogenin levels in individual female trout from this treatment were significantly correlated with gonadosomatic indices (GSI) measured at the termination of the experiment. The GSI was not correlated strongly or consistently with pregnenolone, nor were any treatment-related pregnenolone differences observed, indicating that the steroid hormone reductions likely were not related to cholesterol side-chain cleavage. Male trout showed significant induction of vitellogenin and lower 11-ketotestosterone during the experiment (only the eight-month group was examined), but this did not result in any significant differences in testes development. Thus, this study has shown an impact of pulp mill effluent exposure on the reproductive physiology of female trout that appeared to be hormonally mediated. Furthermore, the effect could only be manifest when the exposure was initiated before the start of gonad development.

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