Chronic effects of silver exposure on ion levels, survival, and silver distribution within developing rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) embryos

C. M. Guadagnolo, C. J. Brauner, C. M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Rainbow trout embryos were chronically exposed to silver (as AgNO3) in moderately hard water (120 mg CaCO3/L, 0.70 mM Cl-, 1.3 mg/L dissolved organic matter, 12.3 ± 0.1 °C) at nominal concentrations of 0.1, 1, and 10 μg/L (measured = 0.117 ± 0.008, 1.22 ± 0.16, and 13.51 ± 1.58 μg/L, respectively) to investigate the effects on mortality, ionoregulation, and silver uptake and distribution of the embryo. Mortalities in the low concentrations (0.1 and 1.2 μg/L) were not significantly different from controls throughout embryonic development (days 1-32 postfertilization). Mortalities of embryos in the 13.5-μg/L treatment reached 56% by day 32 postfertilization (33% when accounting for control mortality), by which time more than 50% of surviving embryos had hatched. Accumulation of silver in whole embryos of 1.2- and 13.5-μg/L treatments reached the highest concentrations of 0.13 and 0.24 μg/g total silver, respectively, by day 32, but whole embryo silver burden was not correlated with mortality. Silver concentrations in different compartments of the whole embryo (chorion, dissected embryo, and yolk) were greatest just before hatch and were higher in the chorion for all experimental treatments. Up to 85% of total whole embryo silver content was bound to the chorion, which acts as a protective barrier during silver exposure. Whole embryo Na+ concentration in the 13.5-μg/L treatment was significantly reduced relative to controls from days 23 to 32 postfertilization, and levels in the embryo were reduced by 40% at day 32 postfertilization, indicating that silver toxicity in the whole embryo is associated with an ion regulatory disturbance that is similar to the acute effect of AgNO3 in juvenile and adult trout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 27 2001


  • Chorion
  • Development
  • Ion regulation
  • Rainbow trout embryos
  • Silver toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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