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Evaluation of short-term fish reproductive bioassays for predicting effects of a Canadian bleached kraft mill effluent

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by M van den Heuvel, P Martel, T Kovacs, D MacLatchy, G Van Der Kraak, J Parrott, M McMaster, B O'Connor, Steven Melvin, L Hewitt
Under the Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program for pulp and paper effl uents, the observation of a national response pattern of decreased gonad size and increased fish condition and liver size has triggered a centralized multiagency investigation of cause (IOC) of reproductive impacts in fishes. The purpose of the component of the IOC study presented here is to compare a number of fish bioassays for determining reproductive and reproductive-endocrine effects of a bleached kraft mill effluent. The bleached kraft mill chosen for this study had demonstrated the national response pattern inprevious EEM cycles. The bioassays employed to examine reproduction were fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) 5- and 21-d, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) 25-d, and zebrafish (Danio rerio) 7-d tests, all of which had egg production as the primary reproductive endpoint. Additional bioassays examining reproductive-endocrine endpoints included a 7-d mummichog test, a 7- and a 21-d threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) test, a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) 7-d test, and in vitro sex steroid receptor and plasma protein binding bioassays. The zebrafi sh and fathead minnow reproductive testsshowed signifi cant suppression of egg production at the 100% effl uent concentration. Endocrine data derived from the tests showed that this effluent did not impact steroidogenic endpoints at any concentration. Bioassays showed that this effluent i) was capable of eliciting cytochrome P4501A induction at as low as 10% vol/vol effluent, ii) was weakly androgenic at 10% vol/vol, and iii) showed no evidence of in vivo estrogenicity. These results were consistent with in vitro receptor binding assays showing a highly variable level of androgenic equivalents over six months of effl uent testing, with little evidence of estrogenic activity. Bioassay results were consistent in that the overall conclusion was that this effluent has only a weak potential to cause reproductive impairment and would likely not do so at environmentally relevant concentrations. Field studies and a fatheadminnow lifecycle study conducted concurrently were in agreement with reproductive bioassay results as white sucker exposed in the receiving environment no longer had signifi cantly reduced gonadal development. Overall, this study provided evidence that the laboratory assays evaluated for various reproductive endpoints have potential application for future IOC work.






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I W A Publishing



Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Environment Canada; FPInnovations--Paprican; University of Guelph; University of New Brunswick; University of Prince Edward Island; Wilfrid Laurier University;

Era Eligible

  • Yes


Water quality research journal of Canada.