KWRRI Research Reports


A variety of freshwater fishes were studied by light and electron microscopy, enzyme histochemical and biochemical methods, The objective was to determine normal structure and function in specific target organs and to compare these to altered states in aquatic pollution. The basic question, "can fish tissues and enzymes serve as indicators of water quality?," was asked. Microscopic alteration in gill was indicative of copper toxicity at an exposure of 20 parts per billion, Gross and light microscopic alterations were indicative of a single exposure of channel catfish to 15 parts per million of methyl mercuric chloride (CH3HgCl). Microscopic and correlated biochemical study fingerprinted the alterations in cells at an exposure of 0.67 parts per million CH3HgC1. The developments of pathobiological autopsy techniques for the assessment of water quality is discussed.

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The work on which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Resources, United States Department of the Interior, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.