Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 366–373

Acute toxicity of boron, molybdenum, and selenium to fry of chinook salmon and coho salmon

  • Steven J. Hamilton
  • Kevin J. Buhl

DOI: 10.1007/BF01054980

Cite this article as:
Hamilton, S.J. & Buhl, K.J. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. (1990) 19: 366. doi:10.1007/BF01054980


The acute toxicities of boron, molybdenum, and various forms of selenium, individually and in environmentally relevant mixtures, to swim-up and advanced fry of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho salmon (O. kisutch) were determined in site-specific fresh and brackish waters. Boron and molybdenum were relatively non-toxic (96-hr LC50s > 100 mg/L) to both life stages of both species. Selenite was significantly more toxic than selenate to both species. Swim-up fry tested in fresh water were significantly more sensitive than advanced fry in brackish water to selenate and selenite. No mortalities occurred in any concentrations tested of seleno-DL-methionine; however, in the highest concentration (21.6 mg Se/L), at least 50% of the fish showed pronounced surfacing behavior. Coho salmon were more sensitive than chinook salmon to both selenate and selenite at either life stage; only the swim-up fry of coho salmon were more sensitive than chinook salmon to boron. In additional tests with swim-up chinook salmon, differences in the characteristics of the dilution water did not significantly modify the relative toxicities of boron, selenate, and selenite. In binary mixture studies, the joint acute toxic action of selenate and selenite, combined in various ratios, was additive to both species. Based on a comparison of the individual acute values for chinook salmon to the expected environmental concentrations, the margin of safety for boron was only 56 in fresh and 46 in brackish water. The margins of safety for selenate and selenite exceeded 275 in both fresh and brackish waters. However, the margin of safety for both selenate and selenite in the mixture test was 145 in fresh water and 220 in brackish water.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Hamilton
    • 2
  • Kevin J. Buhl
    • 2
  1. 1.National Fisheries Contaminant Research CenterEdna Head at U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.National Fisheries Contaminant Research CenterU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceYanktonUSA