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Biomarkers as tools to assess the chronic toxicity of ammonia in the juvenile Mugil cephalus

Jiang, Mei, Li, Lei, Shen, Xinqiang
Chemistry in ecology 2018 v.34 no.2 pp. 99-107
Mugil cephalus, ammonia, antioxidants, biomarkers, chronic toxicity, enzyme activity, juveniles, liver, malondialdehyde
With juvenile fish as the subject, the effects of low concentration ammonia on antioxidant system were studied using Mugil cephalus. Samples of gill and liver tissue were obtained from 0.35, 0.70, 1.5 and 3 mg/L ammonia groups at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 days of exposure, at which times the biomarkers were measured. Results showed that gill malondialdehyde (MDA) content exhibited an initial significant increase (p ≤ 0.05) at unionised ammonia concentrations of 0.70, 1.5 and 3.0 mg/L on day 5, followed by subsequent declines, while liver MDA levels exhibited significant increases (p ≤ 0.05) at unionised ammonia concentrations of 1.5 mg/L starting on day 10 and at 3.0 mg/L starting on day 5. With exposure to ammonia at different concentrations, Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase activity in liver and gill decreased over time. The Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase activity was negatively related to ammonia concentration from 0.70 to 3.0 mg/L. Overall, our results show that MDA and Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase, evaluated here as potential biomarkers of ammonia exposure, exhibited responses to sublethal concentrations of ammonia that were concentration dependent.