Foodweb transfer, accumulation, and depuration of microcystins, a cyanobacterial toxin, in pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus).

Academic Article


  • Zooplankton accumulate microcystins (MC), a potent cyanobacteria toxin, and therefore may act as vectors of the toxin up the aquatic food web; however this transfer has not yet been quantified. In addition there is a lack of information regarding fish's ability to metabolize MC when administered a low dose over a longer period of time. We monitored MC concentrations in three levels of an aquatic food web: phytoplankton, zooplankton, and sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus). Bosmina appeared to be both a major accumulator of MC in zooplankton and the major vector of MC to sunfish. In an accumulation experiment, sunfish were brought into the laboratory and fed MC-rich zooplankton pellets (50 ng MC kg(-1)d(-1)) for 9 days. Zooplankton directly transferred MC to sunfish, resulting in liver and muscle tissue accumulation. However, after 6 days of accumulation fish significantly decreased concentrations in their liver and muscle tissue, indicating the induction of a detoxification and excretion pathway. Sunfish retained MC in their liver and muscle tissue, showing no significant changes in toxin concentration over 2 weeks of fasted depuration.
  • Authors

  • Smith, Juliette L
  • Haney, James
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2006
  • Published In

  • Toxicon  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Ecosystem
  • Food Chain
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Liver
  • Microcystins
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Perciformes
  • Phytoplankton
  • Plankton
  • Zooplankton
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 16928388
  • Start Page

  • 580
  • End Page

  • 589
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 5