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(077) Dietary exposure of mink to fish from the Housatonic River.
Bursian, Steven*,1, Sharma, Chanda1, Aulerich, Richard1, Yamini, Behzad1, Mitchell, Rachel1, Orazio, Carl2, Tillitt, Donald2, 1 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI2 U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, MO
ABSTRACT- There has been concern regarding the presence of environmental contaminants, especially PCBs and, to a lessor extent, other contaminants such as PCDDs and PCDFs in the biota and sediments of the Housatonic River. Recent field studies have demonstrated a paucity of piscivorous wildlife along more highly contaminated sections of the river, while viable populations inhabit nearby reference areas, suggesting that PCBs are having an adverse effect on these species. The present study was designed to evaluate whether farm-raised mink fed diets containing PCB-contaminated fish from the Housatonic River would exhibit impaired reproductive performance and/or kit growth and survival. Seventy-two virgin female mink were fed diets containing 0.06 to 3.70 ug total PCBs/g diet provided by Housatonic River fish. Concentrations of dietary TEQs ranged from 1.1 to 68.5 pg/g diet. Diets were fed 8 weeks prior to breeding through weaning of kits (January through May, approximately 160 days) at which time the adult females and 6 kits per treatment were euthanized and necropsied. Twelve kits from each treatment group were maintained on their respective treatment diets through the growing period (June through November, approximately 180 days) at which time they were euthanized and necropsied. Selected tissues were examined histologically. Portions of the liver were processed for contaminant analysis. The presence of PCBs in the diet had no significant effect on feed consumption of adult female mink. Breeding success, whelping success, and gestation length were unaffected. Survivability of mink kits between 3 and 6 weeks of age was significantly lower compared to controls when the dams were fed 3.70 ug total PCBs/g diet or 68.5 pg TEQs/g diet. Body weights and organ weights of adult females and kits were not consistently affected by exposure to PCBs with the exception that 3-week body weights of kits in the group fed 3.70 ug total PCBs/g diet (68.5 pg TEQs/g diet) were significantly lower compared to controls. There were no histological changes in any of the major internal organs that could be attributed to consumption of PCB-contaminated fish. Results of the study indicate that inclusion of PCB-contaminated fish from the Housatonic River at less than 4% of the diet can have a detrimental effect on survivability of mink kits.
Key words: pcbs, mink, reproduction
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