Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 795–803

Effects of elevated foodborne selenium on growth and reproduction of the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)


  • Richard S. Ogle
    • Land, Air, and Water Resources Department, Veihmeyer HallUniversity of California
  • Allen W. Knight
    • Land, Air, and Water Resources Department, Veihmeyer HallUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1007/BF01160293

Cite this article as:
Ogle, R.S. & Knight, A.W. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. (1989) 18: 795. doi:10.1007/BF01160293


Several field studies of selenium-contaminated lakes and reservoirs have indicated the possibility of selenium-induced reproductive failure in important populations of fish. These investigators have hypothesized that bioaccumulation of selenium through the food chain led to fish selenium levels high enough to elicit toxic responses. The present investigation was designed to determine the effects of elevated foodborne selenium on the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Fish were fed a diet spiked with a mixture of inorganic (selenite and selenate) and organic (seleno-L-methionine) selenium and effects on growth and reproduction were determined. Growth was significantly inhibited at the highest selenium treatment levels evaluated (20 and 30 ppm Se). There were no significant treatment effects on any of the reproductive parameters measured. Reasons for the disparity between selenium-induced reproductive impairment observed in other species and apparent lack of impairment in fathead minnows may involve reduced bioaccumulation of selenium by minnows due to differences in gut morphology and physiology.

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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989