Accumulation and toxicity of aluminium-contaminated food in the freshwater crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus

Katie Woodburn, Rachel Walton, Catherine McCrohan, Keith White

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    The accumulation and toxicity of aluminium in freshwater organisms have primarily been examined following aqueous exposure. This study investigated the uptake, excretion and toxicity of aluminium when presented as aluminium-contaminated food. Adult Pacifastacus leniusculus were fed control (3. μg aluminium/g) or aluminium-spiked pellets (420. μg aluminium/g) over 28 days. Half the crayfish in each group were then killed and the remainder fed control pellets for a further 10 days (clearance period). Concentrations of aluminium plus the essential metals calcium, copper, potassium and sodium were measured in the gill, hepatopancreas, flexor muscle, antennal gland (kidney) and haemolymph. Histopathological analysis of tissue damage and sub-cellular distribution of aluminium were examined in the hepatopancreas. Haemocyte number and protein concentration in the haemolymph were analysed as indicators of toxicity. The hepatopancreas of aluminium-fed crayfish contained significantly more aluminium than controls on days 28 and 38, and this amount was positively correlated with the amount ingested. More than 50% of the aluminium in the hepatopancreas of aluminium-fed crayfish was located in sub-cellular fractions thought to be involved in metal detoxification. Aluminium concentrations were also high in the antennal glands of aluminium-fed crayfish suggesting that some of the aluminium lost from the hepatopancreas is excreted. Aluminium exposure via contaminated food caused inflammation in the hepatopancreas but did not affect the number of circulating haemocytes, haemolymph ion concentrations or protein levels. In conclusion, crayfish accumulate, store and excrete aluminium from contaminated food with only localised toxicity. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)535-542
    Number of pages7
    JournalAquatic Toxicology
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • Aluminium
    • Crayfish
    • Hepatopancreas
    • Metal
    • Toxicity
    • Trophic transfer


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