Bioavailability and Toxicity of Freshly Neutralized Aluminium to the Freshwater Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus

E. Alexopoulos, C. R. McCrohan, J. J. Powell, R. Jugdaohsingh, K. N. White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Freshly neutralized aluminium (Al) is toxic to a variety of freshwater organisms despite its insolubility at circumneutral pH. Insoluble Al acts exogenously - for example, on the fish gill - thereby impairing respiratory function, and endogenously in grazing and filter-feeding invertebrates following ingestion during drinking and feeding. This paper examines the bioavailability and behavioral toxicity of freshly neutralized Al to the freshwater crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus exposed to 500 μg L -1 added Al for 20 days under controlled conditions. We test the hypothesis that aqueous Al is toxic to the crayfish and that this is largely due to the metal's association with the gill rather than following accumulation in the body. Little Al was accumulated in the digestive gland (hepatopancreas) or flexor muscle, but large amounts were associated with the gills, resulting in concentration factors of up to 1 × 104. Histochemistry showed that much of this metal was extracellular to the gill epithelium and associated with the mucus layer. Behavioral dysfunction was observed following exposure to Al for five days. Reduction in the amount of Al in the water column, due to binding to snail trail mucus attached to the substrate, reduced the amount of Al associated with the gill and delayed the onset of behavioral dysfunction. We conclude that freshly neutralized Al is toxic to the crayfish and that main site of Al action is the gill.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)509-514
    Number of pages5
    JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


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