Aquatic toxicity studies were performed on two important coal-derived contaminants, silver and nickel. Silver was investigated with regard to metal-induced tolerance in laboratory populations of the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Fish were exposed to acute silver concentrations following acclimation to sublethal exposures of this metal. Based on median lethal times (LT50), animals which had received 14 days prior exposure to 1.5 and 15 μg Ag/L were three to four times more resistant to silver than were previously unexposed organisms. This metal-induced resistance was not a sustained response. After organisms which had been acclimated to 15 μg/L had been transferred to clean water for two weeks, LT50 values determined with these animals were statistically indistinguishable from those calculated with non-acclimated control fish. With respect to nickel, a 32-day continuous-flow test was performed with the fathead minnow. Nickel was administered in duplicate at six exposure concentrations ranging from 0.038 to 0.733 mg/Lin medium-hard water (100 mg CaC03/L). Animal test responses included mortality, teratogenesis, and growth. Based on frequencies of mortality after 32 days of continuous exposure, significant effects were recorded at a nickel concentration of 0.120 mg/L, and the no observed effect concentration (NOEC) was determined to be 0.057 mg Ni/L.
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The research on which this report is based was financed in part by the U.S. Department of the Interior, as authorized by the Water Research and Development Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-467).
Birge, Wesley J.; Black, Jeffrey A.; Hobson, James F.; and Westerman, Albert G., "Toxicological Studies on Aquatic Contaminants Originating from Coal Production and Utilization: The Induction of Tolerance to Silver in Laboratory Populations of Fish and the Chronic Toxicity of Nickel to Fish Early Life Stages" (1984). KWRRI Research Reports. 52.