Effect of dietary methylmercury and seleno-methionine on Sacramento splittail larvae

D. F. Deng, F. C. Teh, Swee J Teh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The effects of methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) contamination on food webs in the San Francisco Estuary have received considerable attention during the past decade. However, knowledge of their effects on native fishes of California is lacking. This study investigated the interactive effects of dietary MeHg and seleno-methionine (SeMet) on Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) larvae. Twelve diets containing increasing levels of SeMet (0.64, 8.2 and 35.0 μg Se g- 1 diet) and MeHg (0.01, 0.13, 4.7 and 11.7 μg Hg g- 1 diet) were fed to 21-day post-hatch larvae for 4 weeks in 2-L beakers at 25 °C. Fish were fed twice a day at a feeding rate of 40, 30, 25 and 20% of body weight during the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th week, respectively. At the end of week 4, no significant difference (P > 0.05) was observed among treatments for mortality, body length or weight, and condition factor. Bioaccumulation of Hg and Se responded positively and significantly (P < 0.05) to their dietary concentrations. The molar ratio of Se/Hg in diets was linearly correlated to the ratio of Se/Hg in fish. Dietary Se inhibited Hg accumulation, which was negatively correlated to the dietary Se/Hg ratio. Histopathological examination revealed severe gill anomaly and liver glycogen depletion in fish fed the 11.7 μg Hg g- 1 diet. Liver glycogen depletion and kidney tubular dilation were found in larvae fed the 11.7 μg Hg and 11.7 μg Hg + 35 μg Se g- 1 diets. In conclusion, dietary Hg enhanced Se accumulation but dietary Se inhibited Hg accumulation in splittail. Dietary Se showed a protective effect in fish fed the high MeHg diet. This protection was related to the dietary Se/Hg ratio, which is a more reliable criterion for evaluating the interactive effect between Se and Hg in splittail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 15 2008


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Hg
  • Histopathology
  • Sacramento splittail
  • Se

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of dietary methylmercury and seleno-methionine on Sacramento splittail larvae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this