Changes in selected blood component concentrations of rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri Richardson, exposed to hypoxia or sublethal concentrations of phenol or ammonia


  • D. J. Swift

    1. Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 10 Whitehall Place, London SWlA 2HH, U.K.
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      Directorate of Fisheries Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Fisheries Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, England.


Rainbow trout were exposed to sublethal phenol or non-ionized ammonia concentrations or to hypoxia. Blood samples were taken after various exposure periods and the packed cell volume (PCV) value, the whole blood glucose concentration and the plasma cortisol and chloride ion concentrations measured. At low pollutant concentrations there were no significant changes in the blood components compared to control fish values. At higher concentrations the general response to the stressors was significant increases in the PCV value and the glucose and cortisol concentrations during the first few hours of exposure, followed by a gradual return to normal values in the subsequent exposure time. The increases in glucose and cortisol concentrations were approximately proportional to the pollutant concentrations no such correlation was found for the PCV values. No clear pattern of plasma chloride ion changes was found in any experiment. Levels of no acute effect, in terms of toxic units (TU) based on the pollutants’ 48 h LC50 values, were estimated for phenol as 0.3 TU and for un-ionized ammonia as 0.1 TU, using the plasma cortisol concentration measurements. The use of fish blood component measurements as general indicators of a stress response is discussed.