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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2006 Mar;63(3):424-9.

Depuration of microcystins in tilapia fish exposed to natural populations of toxic cyanobacteria: a laboratory study.

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Department of Botany, Faculty of Science (Sohag), South Valley University, Sohag 82524, Egypt.


Previous studies demonstrated that microcystins (MCYSTs) can be accumulated in different organs, particularly the liver, of tilapia fish (Oreochromis niloticus) in an Egyptian fish farm containing toxic blooms of Microcystis aeruginosa. In the present study, a microcosm experiment was conducted to examine the depuration of MCYSTs in tilapia fish from this fish farm. Fish were grown in a 100-L aerated recirculation tank containing dechlorinated water at room temperature (25+/-2 degrees C) for 96 h. MCYST concentrations in livers, intestines, and gallbladders of each daily sacrificed fish were determined by both enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and protein phosphatase inhibition assay (PPIA). MCYST concentrations in the surrounding water were also determined by the same methods. The results showed that MCYST concentrations in the liver and intestine decreased gradually throughout the experimental period. This decrease was accompanied by an increase in MCYST concentrations in the gallbladder and surrounding water. The maximum value of MCYST in the surrounding water was obtained after 96 h at a level of 1.2 microg/L by ELISA, while it was obtained after 24 h at a level of 0.5 microg/L by PPIA and remained stable until the end of the experiment. The present study revealed that tilapia fish can depurate and excrete MCYSTs into the bile and surrounding water as a way to avoid toxicity from such a potent hepatotoxin.

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