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Indian J Exp Biol. 2005 Dec;43(12):1165-9.

Protective role of Spirulina feed in a freshwater fish (Poecilia reticulata Peters) exposed to an azo dye-methyl red.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur 302 004, India.


Acute toxicity of an azo dye-methyl red (5-40 ppm) was examined under starving conditions, on two groups of Poecilia reticulata--a freshwater fish, fed on different diets prior to their exposure to dye. Besides natural feed, fish of group-1 also received Spirulina feed for one month (feed population), whereas those of group-2 received only natural feed (non-feed population). The mortality data revealed non-feed population to be more tolerant to feed stress during acute toxicity study, whereas feed population exhibited better tolerance to the combined stress of both feed and methyl red; especially at higher concentrations of the latter. RBCs in methyl red treatments acquired different shapes (poikilocytosis) and an increase in their size (anisocytosis) was also noticed. Percentage of such abnormal RBCs was almost equal in both feed and non-feed populations, except at a lower concentration (5 ppm), at which percentage of poikilocytic RBCs was lesser in the feed population. RBC counts in the control non-feed fish (34.5 x 10(4)/mm3) were significantly lower than control feed population (50.0 x 10(4) /mm3). Their number decreased with an increase in methyl red concentrations in non-feed population (9-26%), but percent reduction in RBC counts was almost similar (20-26%) at various concentrations of methyl red (5-30 ppm) in the feed population. Despite reduction in RBC counts, feed population did not suffer from anemia in methyl red treatments, as evident by their RBC counts which were almost equal to control fish of non-feed population. The results suggest that Spirulina feed improves tolerance of test organism towards methyl red manifested by noticeable reduction in the cytotoxic effects on RBCs and a lower mortality rate at higher concentrations of dye.

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