In vitro analysis of the bioavailability of six metals via the gastro-intestinal tract of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Adeola A. Ojo, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


An in vitro gut sac technique was used to compare the uptake rates of essential (copper, zinc and nickel) and non-essential metals (silver, cadmium and lead) at 50 μmol L-1 each (a typical nutritive level in solution in chyme) in the luminal saline in four sections of the gastro-intestinal tract (stomach, anterior, mid and posterior intestines) of the freshwater rainbow trout. Cu, Zn, Cd and Ag exhibited similar regional patterns: on an area-specific basis, uptake rates for these metals were highest in the anterior intestine, lowest in the stomach, and approximately equal in the mid and posterior intestinal segments. When these rates were converted to a whole animal basis, the predominance of the anterior intestine increased because of its greater area, while the contribution of the stomach rose slightly to approach those of the mid and posterior intestines. However, for Pb and Ni, area-specific and whole organism transport rates were greatest in the mid (Pb) and posterior (Ni) intestines. Surprisingly, total transport rates did not differ appreciably among the essential and non-essential metals, varying only from 0.025 (Ag) to 0.050 nmol g-1 h-1 (Ni), suggesting that a single rate constant can be applied for risk assessment purposes. These rates were generally comparable to previously reported uptake rates from waterborne exposures conducted at concentrations 1-4 orders of magnitude lower, indicating that both routes are likely important, and that gut transporters operate with much lower affinity than gill transporters. Except for Ni, more metal was bound to mucus and/or trapped in the mucosal epithelium than was transported into the blood space in every compartment except the anterior intestine, where net transport predominated. Overall, mucus binding was a significant predictor of net transport rate for every metal except Cd, and the strongest relationship was seen for Pb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 5 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • Copper
  • Dietary metals
  • Intestine
  • Lead
  • Mucosal epithelium
  • Mucus binding
  • Nickel
  • Silver
  • Stomach
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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