• Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
  • Chinook salmon;
  • Immunocompetence;
  • Vaccination;
  • Growth


Juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) were fed a mixture of 14 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds that reflected the PAH composition of salmon stomach contents in an urban estuary of Puget Sound, Washington (USA). Following a 28-d dietary exposure, a standardized Listonella anguillarum challenge model was used to determine whether PAH exposure (16, 64, and 252 mg/kg wet wt feed) causes reduced disease resistance under the conditions examined in this study. To assess innate immunity, five replicate groups of fish per dose were acclimated for one week, exposed to a lethal concentration 60 of bacteria, and monitored for 14 d. In a parallel experiment, the effects of PAH exposure on the acquired immune response were examined by immersion vaccinating fish against L. anguillarum and allowing specific immunity to develop for three weeks prior to challenge. All mortalities were aseptically sampled to confirm L. anguillarum infections. No significant differences in fish length, weight, or coefficient of condition were observed. These controlled laboratory experiments suggest that dietary exposures to an environmentally relevant mixture of PAH compounds do not alter the immunocompetence or growth of juvenile chinook salmon.