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Keywords:

  • Salmo salar;
  • Diazinon;
  • toxicity;
  • pesticide;
  • olfaction;
  • pheromones

Diazinon, an organophosphate pesticide, had a sublethal effect on the olfactory system of mature male Atlantic salmon parr. The olfactory responses of the parr to prostaglandin F2a (PGF2a) were studied after exposure of the epithelium to different concentrations of Diazinon in water. Electrophysiological recordings from the epithelium indicated that the responses to this prostaglandin were significantly reduced at nominal concentrations as low as 1.0μg l−1 and the threshold of detection was reduced 10-fold at 2.0 μg 1−1 . Mature male salmon parr exposed for a period of 120 h to Diazinon (nominal concentrations 0.3, 0.8, 1.7, 2.7, 5.6, 13, 28 and 45 μg 1 −1) also had significantly reduced levels of the reproductive steroids, 17,20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one, testosterone and gonadotrophin II in the blood plasma after priming with ovulated female salmon urine. Both prostaglandin F2a and ovulated female urine are known to have important roles in synchronizing reproductive physiology and behaviour in salmonids as well as other fish species. The results are therefore discussed in relation to the possible sublethal effects of Diazinon on reproduction in the Atlantic salmon and possible effects on populations of salmonids.