Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 189–195 | Cite as

The effect of chlorine toxicity on certain blood parameters of adult rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri)

  • Ibrahim H. Zeitoun
Main article


In an effort to assess the mode of chlorine action on rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), hematocrit percentage, and hemoglobin, methemoglobin, reduced glutathione, plasma protein, and plasma hemoglobin concentrations were determined in four tests in which duplicate groups of approximately 15 fish each were exposed to 3.86, 2.47, 2.75, and 1.09 mg 1−1 TRC12 for 8, 19, 20, and 29 minutes, respectively. Blood from fish exposed to chlorine was darker and thicker than that of the control. Chlorine seemed to diffuse readily through the gills, oxidizing the hemoglobin to methemoglobin and disrupting the erythrocyte membranes, resulting in hemolysis. Stress polycythemia was also due to the substantial increase of the hematocrit values and hemoglobin concentration. Hemoconcentration led to a significant rise in the reduced gluthathione and plasma protein concentrations. The hemoconcentration seemed to interfere with the blood circulation and hinder the delivery of oxygen to tissues.


Rainbow trout Chlorine Hemoconcentration Hemolysis Hematocrit Hemoglobin Methemoglobinemia Reduced glutathione Plasma protein Toxicology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Beutler, E., O. Duron & B. M. Kelly. 1963. Improved method for the determination of blood gluthathione. J. Lab. Clin. Med. 61: 882–888.Google Scholar
  2. Bhagavan, N. V. 1974. Biochemistry. J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 964 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Brooks, A. S. & G. L. Seegert. 1976. The toxicity of chlorine to freshwater organisms under varying environmental conditions. Conference on the Environmental Impact of Water Chlorination, October 22–24, 1975, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.Google Scholar
  4. Brungs, W. A. 1973. Effects of residual chlorine on aquatic life. J. Water Pollut. Control Fed. 45: 2180–2193.Google Scholar
  5. Buckley, J. A., C. M. Whitmore & R. I. Matsuda. 1976. Changes in blood chemistry and blood cell morphology in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) following exposure to sublethal levels of total residual chlorine in municipal wastewater. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 33: 776–782.Google Scholar
  6. Cameron, J. N. 1971. Methemoglobin in erythrocytes of rainbow trout. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 40A: 743–749.Google Scholar
  7. Cameron, J. N. & J. C. Davis. 1970. Gas exchange in rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) with varying blood oxygen capacity. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 27: 1069–1085.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, G. & P. Hochstein. 1964. Generation of hydrogen peroxide in erythrocytes by hemolytic agents. Biochem. 3: 895–903.Google Scholar
  9. Dandy, J. W. T. 1972. Activity response to chlorine in the brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill). Can. J. Zool. 50: 405–410.Google Scholar
  10. Dent, R. J.,Jr. 1974. Effects upon fishes of a periodic flushing of electrical power plants boiler tubes with chlorine. M.A. Thesis, Southern Illinois Univ. at carbondale. 37 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Davidsohn, I. & D. A. Nelson. 1969. The blood. pp. 120–330. In: I. Davidson & J. B. Henry (eds.) Clinical diagnosis W. B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  12. Diggs, L. W. 1971. Erythrocytes disorders and responses. pp. 82–119. In: S. E. Miller & J. M. Weller (eds.) Clinical pathology, The Williams and Wilkins Co., Baltimore, Maryland.Google Scholar
  13. Fair, G. M., J. G. Morris & S. L. Chang. 1947. The dynamics of water chlorination. New Eng. Water Works Assoc. 61: 285–301.Google Scholar
  14. Fobes, R. L. 1971. Chlorine toxicity and its effect on gill tissue respiration of the white sucker, Catostomus commersoni (Lacépède). M. S. Thesis, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, 43 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Grothe, D. R. & J. W. Eaton. 1975. Chlorine-induced mortality in fish. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 104: 800–802.Google Scholar
  16. Hegesh, E., N. Braener, S. Cohern, R. Bochkovsky & I. Shwual. 1970. A sensitive micro method for the determination of methemoglobin in blood. Clin. Chim. Acta. 30: 679–682.Google Scholar
  17. Holeton, G. F. 1971. Oxygen uptake and transport by the rainbow trout during exposure to carbon monoxide. J. Exp. Biol. 54: 239–254.Google Scholar
  18. Hunn, J. B. 1969. Chemical composition of rainbow trout urine following acute hypoxic stress. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 98: 20–22.Google Scholar
  19. Ingols, R. S., H. A. Wyckoff, T. W. Kethley, H. W. Hodgden, E. L. Fincher, J. C. Hildebrand & J. E. Mandel. 1953. Bacterial studies of chlorine. Indust. Eng. Chem. 45: 996–1000.Google Scholar
  20. Knox, W. E., P. K. Stumpf, D. E. Green & V. H. Auerbach. 1948. The inhibition of sulhydryl enzymes as the basis of the bactericidal action of chlorine. J. Bact. 55: 451–458.Google Scholar
  21. Lowry, O. H., N. J. Rosebrough, A. L. Farr & R. J. Randall. 1951. Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J. Biol. Chem. 193: 265–275.Google Scholar
  22. McGovern, J. J., A. R. Jones & A. J. Steinberg. 1955. The hematocrit of capillary blood. New Eng. J. Med 253: 308–312.Google Scholar
  23. McLeay, D. J. & D. A. Brown. 1975. Effects of acute exposure to bleached kraft pulpmill effluent on carbohydrate metabolism of juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during rest and exercise. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 32: 753–760.Google Scholar
  24. Miale, J. B. 1967. Hematology. The C. V. Mosby Co., Saint Louis, Missouri. 1257 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Moore, E. W. 1951. Fundamentals of chlorination of sewage and waste. Water and Sewage Works 98: 136–139.Google Scholar
  26. National Environmental Research Center. 1974. Methods for chemical analysis of water and wastes. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, D. C. 298 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Rosenberger, D. R. 1971. The calculation of acute toxicity of free chlorines and chloramines to coho salmon by multiple regression analysis. M. S. Thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing. 33 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Schiffman, R. H. & P. O. Fromm. 1959. Chromium-induced changes in the blood of rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri. Sewage and Industrial Wastes 31: 205–211.Google Scholar
  29. Seegert, G. L., A. S. Brooks & D. L. Latimer. 1975. The effects of a 30-minute exposure of selected Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates to residual chlorine. Proc. of Workshop on an Assessment of Technology and Ecological Effects of Biofouling Control Procedures at Thermal Power Plant Cooling Water Systems, Johns Hopkins Univ., June 16–17, 1975, Baltimore, Maryland (in press).Google Scholar
  30. Smith, C. E. & R. C. Russo. 1975. Nitrite-induced methemoglobinemia in rainbow trout. Prog. Fish.-Cult. 37: 150–152.Google Scholar
  31. Smith, C. E. & W. G. Williams. 1974. Experimental nitrite toxicity in rainbow trout and chinook salmon. Trans. Amer. Fish Soc. 103: 389–390.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, C. E., L. R. McLain & W. S. Zaugg. 1971. Phenylhydrazine-induced anemia in chinook salmon. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 20: 73–81.Google Scholar
  33. Sprague, J. B. 1971. Measurement of pollutant toxicity to fish - III. Sublethal effects and safe concentrations. Water Res. 5: 245–266.Google Scholar
  34. Sprague, J. B. & D. E. Drury. 1969. Avoidance reactions of salmonid fish to representative pollutants. p. 169–179. In: S. H. Jenkins (ed.), Advances in water pollution research, Vol. 1. Proc. 4th Int. Conf. Water Poll. Res., Pergamon Press, London, England.Google Scholar
  35. Stober, Q. J. & C. H. Hanson. 1974. Toxicity of chlorine and heat to pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha). Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 103: 569–576.Google Scholar
  36. Swift, D. J. & R. Lloyd. 1974. Changes in urine flow rate and hematocrit value of rainbow trout Salmo gairdneri (Richardson) exposed to hypoxia. J. Fish. Biol. 6: 379–387.Google Scholar
  37. Tsai, C. R. 1968. Effects of chlorinated sewage effluents on fishes in upper Patuxent River, Maryland. Chesapeake Sci. 9: 83–93.Google Scholar
  38. Tudhope, G. R. & S. P. Leece. 1971. Red-cell catalase and the production of methemoglobin, Heinz bodies and changes in osmotic fragility due to drugs. Acta. Haemat. 45: 290–302.Google Scholar
  39. Wallace, W. J. & W. S. Caughey. 1975. Mechanism for the autoxidation of hemoglobin by phenols, nitrite and “oxidant” drugs. Peroxide formation by one electron donation to bound dioxygen. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 62: 561–567.Google Scholar
  40. White, G. C. 1972. Handbook of chlorination. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, N. Y. 744 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Wobeser, G. 1975. Acute toxicity of methyl mercury chloride and mercuric chloride for rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) fry and fingerlings. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 32: 2005–2013.Google Scholar
  42. Wyss, O. 1962. Disinfection by chlorine theoretical aspects. Water and Sewage Works. 109: 155–158.Google Scholar
  43. Zillich, J. A. 1972. Toxicity of combined chlorine residuals to freshwater fish. J. Water Pollut. Control Fed. 44: 212–220.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v., Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ibrahim H. Zeitoun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ServicesConsumers Power CompanyJacksonUSA

Personalised recommendations