Effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in northern bobwhite quail (colinusvirginianus)

John M. Brausch, Brett R. Blackwell, Blake N. Beall, Cynthia Caudillo, Venkata Kolli, Celine Godard-Codding, Stephen B. Cox, George Cobb, Philip N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are ubiquitous contaminants of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and are known to induce biochemical alterations in exposed organisms. Aside from a variety of adverse physiological effects associated with exposure to petroleum products, oils, and oil sludges, little is known about the effects of individual PAH on birds. Acute toxicity of naphthalene, pyrene, and benz[a]anthracene (BAA) was examined in adult northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus). Additionally, subacute (8 d) and subchronic (60 d) studies were conducted to assess alterations in metabolic enzyme activity. Neither naphthalene, nor pyrene, nor BAA exposure via oral gavage produced acute toxicity up to the limit dose of 2 g/kg body weight. In the subacute study, quail provided feed containing the highest concentration of BAA for 5 d had significantly increased renal ethoxyresorufin O-deeththylase (EROD) activity compared to controls. Following a 3-d recovery period, significant increases between 10 and 100 mg/kg of BAA in feed existed for both hepatic EROD and pentoxyresorufin O-deethylase (PROD) activity compared to controls. Subchronic exposure to BAA (ranging from 0.1 to 10 mg/kg) also resulted in a significant rise of EROD and PROD in both kidney and liver tissue compared to controls. Though the individual PAH used in this study were not acutely toxic, these results confirm that these individual PAH induce alterations in metabolic enzyme activity in northern bobwhite quail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-551
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 2010


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