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Evaluation of the human health threat associated with the hepatotoxin microcystin in the muscle and liver tissues of yellow perch (Perca flavescens)

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Abstract:

During the summer of 2006, the western basin of Lake Erie experienced a bloom of the toxigenic cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa. Across 11 sites, intracellular, particulate-bound microcystin levels in the seston increased to levels that exceeded World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water exposure (1g toxin·L–1). In contrast, toxin concentrations in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) muscle tissue (n = 68) declined from June to August, were negatively related to algal toxin levels, and never exceeded a conservative chronic exposure concentration estimated using proposed United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) guidelines. Microcystin concentrations in yellow perch liver exceeded US EPA chronic exposure guidelines, were on average 125 times higher than muscle toxin concentrations per unit dry weight, and varied little throughout the summer. With current guidelines, humans do not appear to be at risk when consuming the muscle tissue of Lake Erie yellow perch collected during large-scale cyanobacterial blooms. However, this study highlights the need for a better understanding of the trophic transfer of cyanobacterial toxins through aquatic food webs in diverse ecosystems with an emphasis on understanding if these compounds could accumulate sufficiently to affect human health.

Durant l'été 2006, le bassin occidental du lac Érié a connu une floraison de la cyanobactérie toxinogène, Microcystis aeruginosa. Dans 11 sites, les concentrations de microcystine intracellulaire liée aux particules dans le seston ont atteint des niveaux supérieurs aux normes de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé pour l'eau potable (1 g toxine·L–1). En revanche, les concentrations de toxines dans le tissu musculaire de la perchaude (Perca flavescens) (n = 68) ont diminué de juin à août et étaient en corrélation négative avec les concentrations de toxines dans les algues; elles n'ont jamais dépassé une concentration conservatrice d'exposition chronique estimée à partir des recommandations de l'Agence de protection de l'environnement des États-Unis (US EPA). Les concentrations de microcystine dans le foie des perchaudes dépassaient les concentrations mentionnées dans les recommandations sur l'exposition chronique de US EPA; elles étaient en moyenne 125 fois plus élevées que les concentrations de toxines dans le tissu musculaire par unité de masse sèche et elles ont peu varié au cours de l'été. D'après les recommandations actuelles, les humains ne semblent pas courir de risque en consommant du tissu musculaire de perchaudes du lac Érié capturées durant les floraisons à grande échelle de cyanobactéries. Cependant, notre étude met en évidence la nécessité de mieux comprendre le transfert trophique des toxines des cyanobactéries dans les réseaux alimentaires aquatiques dans les divers écosystèmes et, particulièrement, de savoir si ces composés peuvent s'accumuler suffisamment pour affecter la santé humaine.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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