Bioconcentration and depuration of endosulfan sulfate in mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis)

Chemosphere. 2011 Jul;84(5):538-43. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.04.026. Epub 2011 May 7.


Endosulfan is an insecticide which has been widely used in agriculture. The technical grade material consists of two isomers (alpha and beta). Under natural environmental conditions, endosulfan is metabolized through oxidation and the main metabolite in the environment is endosulfan sulfate. Most ecotoxicology research has been conducted with technical grade endosulfan to determine effects on non-target aquatic organisms. Little data on the effects of endosulfan sulfate on aquatic organisms are available in the literature. This study characterizes endosulfan sulfate bioconcentration and depuration in mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis). During the study, G. affinis was exposed to an environmentally relevant endosulfan sulfate concentration of 0.25 μg L(-1) for 5 weeks (uptake phase) followed by a 3-week period (depuration phase) in clean water. This study found that G. affinis bioconcentrated endosulfan sulfate. During the exposure phase, fish tissue concentrations of endosulfan sulfate increased with time up to 730 μg kg(-1) dw or 215 μg kg(-1) ww. The bioconcentration data followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics better than the one-compartment first order kinetics (1-CFOK). Using these models, the bioconcentration factors for endosulfan sulfate-exposed G. affinis were from 687 to 888 L kg(-1) in wet weight or 2263 to 2936 L kg(-1) in dry weight. During the depuration phase, endosulfan sulfate concentrations in tissue significantly decreased and the data followed first order kinetics. The half-life of endosulfan sulfate in G. affinis was about 9 d. There was no significant difference in standard length or weight between control and exposed fish. The growth data followed the von Bertalanffy growth model. However, the condition factor of exposed fish increased with time during the exposure phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinodontiformes / metabolism*
  • Endosulfan / analogs & derivatives*
  • Endosulfan / analysis
  • Endosulfan / metabolism
  • Insecticides / analysis
  • Insecticides / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Insecticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • endosulfan sulfate
  • Endosulfan