The activity of the enzyme δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALA-D) in erythrocytes has long been used as a biomarker of lead exposure in humans and waterfowl and, more recently, in fishes. The assay was tested for ALA-D activity in fishes from streams affected by lead in combination with other metals from lead-zinc mining and related activities. Fishes (mostly catostomids) were collected from sites affected by historic and current mining activities, and from sites considered to be unaffected by mining (reference sites). A group of potentially toxic elements was measured in blood and carcass samples of individual fish, as were ALA-D activity, total protein (TP), and hemoglobin (Hb) in blood. Concentrations of mining-related metals (lead, zinc, and cadmium) were significantly greater (P<0.05) in fish blood and carcass at sites affected by historic mining activities than at reference and active mining sites. When analyzed by multiple regression, ALA-D activity, Hb, and TP accounted for 66% of blood-lead and 69% of carcass-lead variability. Differences among species were small. ALA-D activity as a biomarker adequately distinguished sites affected by bioavailable environmental lead. Zinc was the only other metal that affected ALA-D activity; it appeared to ameliorate the inactivation of ALA-D by lead.
|Title||Biomonitoring of lead-contaminated Missouri streams with an assay for erythrocyte δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity in fish blood|
|Authors||C.J. Schmitt, M. L. Wildhaber, J.B. Hunn, T. Nash, M. N. Tieger, B. L. Steadman|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Columbia Environmental Research Center|