The influence of ration size on copper homeostasis during sublethal dietary copper exposure in juvenile rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

Collins Kamunde, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The influence of ration size on homeostasis and sublethal toxicity of copper (Cu) was assessed in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during dietary Cu exposure in synthetic soft water. A constant dietary dose of 0.24 μmol Cu per g fish per day as CuSO4·5H2O was delivered via diets containing 15.75, 7.87, and 5.24 μmol Cu g-1 fed at 1.5, 3.0, and 4.5% wet body weight daily ration, respectively. Juvenile rainbow trout showed clear effects of ration but not Cu on growth suggesting that growth is hardly a sensitive endpoint for detection of sublethal dietary Cu exposure. All Cu-exposed fish accumulated the same total metal load when expressed on a per fish basis. This suggests that differences in tissue and whole-body Cu concentrations among the treatments reflected the differences in the fish size rather than total Cu accumulation, and demonstrate that absorption and accumulation of Cu from the gut during dietary exposure are independent of the food quantity in which the Cu is delivered. Fish fed a high ration exhibited greater mass-specific unidirectional uptake of waterborne Cu than fish fed a low ration indicating an increased need for Cu for growth processes in rapidly growing fish. Stimulated excretion of Cu was indicated by greater Cu accumulation in the bile of the Cu-exposed fish. Branchial Na+, K+-ATPase was not affected by dietary Cu exposure or ration but gut Na+, K+-ATPase activities showed stimulatory effects of increasing ration but not of Cu exposure. The 96-h LC50 for waterborne Cu (range 0.17-0.21 μmol l-1 (10.52-13.20 μg l-1) was the same in all treatment groups indicating that ration size was unimportant and that dietary Cu did not induce an increase in tolerance to waterborne Cu. Taken together these results suggest that the nutritional status, fish size, and growth rates should be considered when comparing whole-body and tissue Cu concentration data for biomonitoring and risk assessment. Moreover, expressing the exposure as total metal dose rather than metal concentration in the diet is more appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-254
Number of pages20
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cu homeostasis
  • Dietary Cu
  • Na,K-ATPase
  • Rainbow trout
  • Ration
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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