Bioaccumulation of cesium-137 in yellow bullhead catfish (Ameiurus natalis) inhabiting an abandoned nuclear reactor reservoir

Authors

  • Clark D. McCreedy,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA
    • Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA
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  • Charles H. Jagoe,

    1. University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA
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  • Lawrence T. Glickman,

    1. Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA
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  • I. Lehr Brisbin Jr.

    1. University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, P.O. Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA
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Abstract

Bioaccumulation of 137Cs was investigated in yellow bullhead catfish (Ameiurus natalis) inhabiting an abandoned reactor reservoir, Pond B, Savannah River Site, Barnwell Co., South Carolina. We collected fish by trap-netting, and determined ages from pectoral spines. Muscle and other tissues were assayed for 137Cs by NaI-scintillation. Muscle 137Cs was unrelated to sex (p = 0.859) or mass of fish (p = 0.224), but was related to age (p = 0.036). Examination of least-squares means suggested that 137Cs in muscle increased up to about age 3, but did not increase with greater age (means for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 year olds were 2,630, 3,011, 3,513, 3,417, 3,599, and 3,339 Bq/kg, respectively). A modified Richards model showed equilibrium 137Cs concentration in muscle (3,625 Bq/kg) was acquired in approximately 2.4 years. Growth differed between sexes (p < 0.001), and the time to asymptotic body mass was longer than the time to attain equilibrium 137Cs concentration. Males attained an asymptotic mass of 577 g in approximately 6.3 years; females attained an asymptotic mass of 438 g in approximately 5.9 years. The cumulative 137Cs burden of the population was 4.9 × 106 Bq, representing <0.001% of the 137Cs inventory of the reservoir. Concentration of 137Cs varied among tissues (p < 0.001), with gill and muscle the lowest and highest (634 and 3,712 Bq/kg, respectively). Concentration of 137Cs in ovaries declined with increasing ovary mass (p = 0.001; r2 = 0.60). Until equilibrium is attained in these fish, 137Cs concentration is directly related to increasing age rather than size.

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