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The effects of ozonation on select waterborne steroid hormones in recirculation aquaculture systems containing sexually mature Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
- Good, Christopher, Davidson, John, Earley, Ryan L., Styga, Joseph, Summerfelt, Steven
- Aquacultural engineering 2017 v.79 pp. 9-16
- Salmo salar, biofilters, enzyme immunoassays, estradiol, females, fish, males, oxygen, ozonation, ozone, recirculating aquaculture systems, sexual maturity, steroid hormones, testosterone, water quality
- Steroid hormones have been shown to accumulate in recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) water over time; however, their influence on the reproductive physiology of fish within RAS remains unknown. Whether ozonation impacts waterborne hormone levels in RAS has likewise not been fully evaluated. To this end, a controlled 3-month study was conducted in 6 replicated RAS containing a mixture of sexually mature and immature Atlantic salmon Salmo salar to determine whether ozone, as typically applied in RAS to improve water quality, is associated with a reduction in waterborne hormones. Post-smolt Atlantic salmon (1253±15g) were stocked into each RAS; 109 of 264 fish placed in each system were sexually mature males, and 5 were mature females. Water ozonation, controlled using an ORP set-point of 290–300mV, was applied with the pure oxygen feed gas within the low-head oxygenators of 3 randomly selected RAS, while the remaining 3 RAS did not receive ozone. The RAS hydraulic retention time was 6.9±0.3 days. Study fish were raised under these conditions for 12 weeks; during weeks 10 and 12, triplicate water samples were collected from the following locations in each RAS: i) culture tank, ii) makeup water, iii) pre-biofilter, iv) post-biofilter, and v) post-gas conditioning. Concentrations of 3 waterborne hormones – testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), and estradiol (17β-estradiol) – were quantified using enzyme immunoassays (EIA). Estradiol was significantly reduced by ozonation; testosterone and 11-KT were also reduced by ozonation, although these reductions were not observed across all sampling locations and events. Testosterone and 11-KT concentrations, however, were significantly reduced following water passage through the biofilters of both ozonated and non-ozonated RAS. The results of this study demonstrate the potential for ozone to be used in RAS as a means of preventing the accumulation of steroid hormones. Further research is required to assess whether reducing hormones in this manner impacts precocious sexual maturation in RAS-produced Atlantic salmon.