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Fish consumption is a potential route of human exposure to the hepatotoxic microcystins, especially in lakes and reservoirs that routinely experience significant toxic Microcystis blooms. Understanding the rates of uptake and elimination for microcystins as well as the transfer efficiency into tissues of consumers are important for determining the potential for microcystins to be transferred up the food web and for predicting potential human health impacts. The main objective of this work was to conduct laboratory experiments to investigate the kinetics of toxin accumulation in fish tissue. An oral route of exposure was employed in this study, in which juvenile yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were given a single oral dose of 5 or 20 μg of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) via food and accumulation in the muscle, liver, and tank water were measured over 24 h. Peak concentrations of the water soluble fraction of microcystin were generally observed 8–10 h after dosing in the liver and after 12–16 h in the muscle, with a rapid decline in both tissues by 24 h. Up to 99% of the total recoverable (i.e., unbound) microcystin was measured in the tank water by 16 h after exposure. The relatively rapid uptake and elimination of the unbound fraction of microcystin in the liver and muscle of juvenile yellow perch within 24 h of exposure indicates that fish consumption may not be a major route of human exposure to microcystin, particularly in the Great Lakes.


Copyright © 2011 Dyble et al., shared here under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0, Originally published in Marine Drugs 9(12),