The impact of kraft pulping effluent on egg survival and hatching success in two species of Clupeiformes (Teleostei)

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Sep;25(25):25269-25279. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-2583-0. Epub 2018 Jun 26.


The anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) and sardine (Strangomera bentincki) are coastal pelagic species with important spawning areas off the coast of Chile. The discharge of secondary-treated effluents from a kraft pulp plant near one of these spawning areas has raised environmental concerns. Therefore, effluent effects on the development of anchoveta and sardine eggs were assessed by in vitro exposure. Eggs were sampled between 2007 and 2010 off Talcahuano, Chile. Subsequent toxicity tests (96 h duration, 12 °C) were performed using increasing effluent concentrations, a filtered seawater control, and two potassium dichromate concentrations (to verify consistent embryonic sensitivity). Egg mortality and hatching success were evaluated. For anchoveta, mortality (9.9 ± 7.1%) did not significantly differ among groups in five toxicity tests except the final toxicity test that showed significant differences in mortality (5.6% control vs 27.8% in 100% effluent). For sardines, no differences in mortality existed between the effluent dilutions (2.6 ± 3.6%) and control (6.3 ± 3.9%). Notably, anchoveta egg survival and hatching success rates were inconsistent, i.e., the highest rates of hatching failure occurred on the same sampling date with the highest rates of survival for the 100% effluent group (72%). In conclusion, the obtained results indicate that (i) anchoveta egg mortality and hatching failure increase only under 100% effluent exposure, coinciding with decreased egg quality near the end of spawning season and (ii) high effluent dilutions not significantly increase sardine and anchoveta egg mortalities. Nevertheless, the recorded adverse effects to the hatching process should be studied in greater detail, particularly considering interspecific variability and the complexity of reproductive processes, especially during early development.

Keywords: Egg mortality; Engraulis; Hatching; Secondary-treated effluent; Strangomera; Toxicity test.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chile
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Fishes / embryology*
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Paper*
  • Seawater
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Industrial Waste
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical