Do laboratory exposures represent field exposures? Effects of sediments contaminated by wood industry on yolk-sac fry of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Risk assessment of contaminated sediments is routinely based on laboratory exposures. The purpose of this work was to study if sediments contaminated by the chemical wood industry cause developmental defects in fish fry and how well a laboratory exposure correlates with a field exposure.
Materials and methods
Newly hatched yolk-sac fry of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed in the laboratory and in situ. In the laboratory, the fish were placed in contact with either clean or contaminated sediment in aquaria. In the field, half of the fish were placed in contact with the lake sediment and the other half were similarly caged 2 m above it, to discern the effects of the sediment from that of the effluent. When approximately three fourths of the yolk was consumed, the fry were examined for blue sac disease (BSD) symptoms, their length and yolk volume were determined, and cyp1a and cyp1c2 transcript abundances were measured with quantitative PCR.
Results and discussion
The sediments did not cause mortality, developmental defects, or upregulation of cyp1a or cyp1c2 in the laboratory. No severe BSD was detected in the field exposure, but mortality was higher in embryos caged on the sediment than in those kept 2 m above the bottom and in those exposed in the laboratory. Unlike the laboratory exposure, the field exposure to contaminated sediments reduced the growth of the fry.
Laboratory exposures may underestimate the risk that contaminated sediments pose to developing fish. This should be taken into account in risk assessment.
KeywordsDevelopmental toxicity Early-life stage Ecological risk assessment Laboratory-field comparison Pulp and paper mills Sediment toxicity
The authors would like to thank Laura Pitkäjärvi, Carlo Ruberto, and Minna Tolonen for the technical assistance; Antti Rusanen for preparing the figure of the study site; and Aarno Karels and the diving club Saimaan Norpat for their help in the field. The work was funded by the Academy of Finland (project 127400 to E-R Vehniäinen) and Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki and Olvi Foundation (grants to S. Siiskonen).
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