Ganado-hepato-somatic Index of Oreochromis niloticus Sub Adults Exposed to Some Herbicides  

Fidelis Bekeh Ada , Ezekiel Olatunji Ayotunde
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Cross River University of Technology, Obubra Campus, Nigeria
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Aquaculture, 2013, Vol. 3, No. 11   doi: 10.5376/ija.2013.03.0011
Received: 23 Apr., 2013    Accepted: 28 Apr., 2013    Published: 22 May, 2013
© 2013 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Ada, 2013, Ganado-hepato-somatic index of Oreochromis niloticus sub adults exposed to some herbicides, International Journal of Aquaculture, Vol.3, No.11 49-54 (doi: 10.5376/ija.2013. 03.0011)


Due to importance of Oreochromis niloticus in Aquaculture in Nigeria and the importance of the liver and the gonads in fish, the gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indexes were measured after exposing the fish to different concentrations of Gramoxone, Glyphosate, Butachlor and Atrazine for fourteen days. These herbicides were observed to produce atrophy in the two organs, liver and gonads. The herbicides are therefore likely going to hinder fish production in the area due to their influence in these important fish organs.

Gonadosomatic index; Hepatosomatic index; Oreochromis niloticus; Herbicides

The liver and gonads play very important roles in the lives of organisms. The liver is the centre of metabolism while the gonads are important in production of sex cells necessary for the continuity of any species. Their importance has attracted several investigations carried out on them as well as on the blood, skin and kidney exposed to xenobiotics. These include the works of Ayotunde (2006); and Ada et al. (2011). Abnormalities in gonads were investigated in natural habitat of whitefish by Bernet et al. (2004) in Lake Thun. Some abnormalities recorded include adhesions/fusions to the peritoneal wall and the lateral trunk musculature, asymmetry, atrophy, compartmentations, constrictions and hermaphroditism. Stentiford et al. (2003) investigated the histopathological alterations in selected organs and tissues of three species of estuarine fish (Platichthys flesus, Pomatoschistus minutus and Zoarces viviparus), captured from four British estuaries (the Tyne, Tees, Mersey and Alde) differently impacted by contaminants. Sampson et al. (2000) opined that flatfish (Pleuronectes platessa) are in close contact with sediments and are thus exposed to xenobiotics stored in the sediments and were observed to alter the histology of their liver, kidney and gonads in Mersey Estuary. Some other investigations on xenobiotics on the general health of fish were carried out by Visoottiviseth et al. (1999), Babatunde et al. (2001); Agbon et al. (2002); Kori-Siakpere et al. (2007); Ayotunde et al. (2010a, b) and Ada et al. (2012a, 2012b). Kamanga et al. (2002) stated that under natural conditions, reproduction is influenced by environmental conditions. Ghanbahadur and Ghanbahadur (2012) stressed that the scientific management to obtain high yield of fish calls for adequate and in-depth study of gonadosomatic index which expresses the relative change in gonad weight to the percentage of body weight. According to these workers, this parameter is important in knowing the spawning periods of fish. The importance of liver and gonads cannot therefore be over emphasized. Oreochromis niloticus being the most culture fish species in Nigeria was investigated for the effects of some xenobiotics on the liver and gonads.

1 Results
The hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus juveniles showed inverse relationship with Gramoxone concentration. The hepatosomatic index of control group was higher. It reduced almost steadily with concentration of Gramoxone administration as was depicted in Figure 1. The differences were significant when data were analysed using ANOVA. The Hepatosomatic Index also decreased with increase in concentration of Glyphosate (Figure 2). Means having the same superscripts are statistically the same while those with different superscripts are statistically different (p<0.05) using Analysis of Variance. When comparing the weight of the liver to that of the fishes’ total weight, it was revealed that the weight of the liver was reducing faster compared to that of the fishes’ body weight. So the hepatosomatic index was reducing with increase in concentration of Butachlor as shown in Figure 3. Similar observations were seen in fish exposed to Atraxine as expressed in Figure 4. Similar relationships were observed in the gonads of the fish exposed to these xenobiotics. These are shown in Figures 5, Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8 for Gramoxone, Glyphosaye, Butachlor and Atrazine respectively.

Figure 1 Hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus sub adults exposed to different concentrations of Glyphosate for 14 days

Figure 2 The hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus sub adults exposed to different concentrations of Gramoxone for 14 days

Figure 3 The Hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus sub adults exposed to different concentrations of Butachlor herbicidesfor 14 days. Means with different letters are significantly different

Figure 4 The hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus sub adults exposed to different concentrations of Artrazine for 14 days

Figure 5 Gonadosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus exposed to different concentrations of Gramoxone for 14 days

Figure 6 Gonadosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus exposed to different concentrations of Glyphosate for 14 days

Figure 7 Gonadosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus exposed to different concentrations of Butachlor for 14 days

Figure 8 Gonadosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus exposed to different concentrations of Atrazine for 14 days
2 Discussion
Fawole and Arawono (2000) observed Sarotherodon galilaeus gonadosomatic index in Ile-Ife, Nigeria to be 0.33± 0.21 for males and 1.88±1.01 for females. The Gonadosomatic index of the parent population of the fish from The Cross River University of Technology was 0.086±0.008. This was observed to be reducing with agro-chemical concentrations. Reduction in liver size could be due to post stress as Peters et al. (1987) attributed condensed cells to fat depletion especially in post spawned females. The shrunken cells often contain numerous clear vacuoles. Changes which occurred in the liver are due to the fact that the liver is a detoxification centre (Cengiz et al. 2001). The liver has to carry out defensive mechanism to be able to detoxify the herbicides and since these chemicals are highly attracted to the organ, the liver is usually highly affected. There was a reduction in the weight of liver (hepatosomatic index). But Couch (1984) reported enlargement of the pituitary exposed to sub lethal concentration of trifluralin herbicide. The observed reduction in hepatosomatic index in this experiment with increase concentration of Glyphosate may be due to the degeneration of some liver tissue and cell according to Jiraungkoorskul et al. (2002), and Olurin et al. (2006). The connective tissue may have been degenerated as well as the fatty tissue. Koumi et al. (2008) pointed to this fact that high viscerosomatic index found in Nile Tilapia fed with soybean as substitute for fish meal was due to high accumulation of fat. But Gomex-Marquez et al. (2003) noticed an inverse relationship between gonadosomatic index and hepatosomatic index in this fish. Such inverse relationship was not observed here possibly because the two organs were equally subjected to the same attacks from the chemicals. The liver, which is the main site of glucose production, was affected as it was exposed to Gramoxone, Glyphosate, Butachlor and Atrizine. Its complete degeneration would have adversely affected all the normal functions thereby rendering its detoxification and homeostatic functions void. This may have resulted from the fact that there was increased glucose production in the liver, making the glucose (energy) highly energy demanding. Poison is capable of marring normal physiological functions in fish. Vijayan et al. (2001) demonstrated that even slight change in hyalinity (salinity) was capable of creating energy deficiency in the tissues of Oreochromis niloticus. Kamanga et al. (2002) observed that temperature was positively correlated to the gonadosomatic index in Oreochromis karongae in Malawi. The exposed fish would have to give off when its total ability to adapt or adjust is exhausted. This becomes more realistic when it is known that in nature stressed fish will more readily reject food. The stored glucose in form of glycogen could have been rendered unusable due to the liver’s inability to convert it to glucose and its subsequent elimination because of the liver degeneration. The fish metabolism which may require glucose is diverted to the necessary energy being supplied by oxidation of fatty acids, which may caused a rise in cholesterol levels in exposed fish (Kori-Siakpere et al.,2007).
Liver and gonads were degenerated at high concentration of Gramoxone or Paraquat, Glyphosate, Butachlor and Atrazine in the present study. Paraquat is a contact poison (Ross and Childs, 1996). Their influence in the reduction of the hepatosomatic index and gonadosomatic index is in line with destruction of the liver tissue since they are the target points as they are used as organ of poison modification or detoxification as well as gamete formation (Taylor et al.,1988). As the liver is overwhelmed, it is consequently degenerated so that the gate way becomes open for the poison to attack other tissues more freely and intensively.
Ou et al.(2000) showed that Butachlor decreased the doubling time of the liver cells in mouse, which may be responsible for reduced liver weight. Multiplication of liver cells must not necessarily mean increase in size. Rather, some uncontrolled over stimulation of cell multiplication may result in organ destruction as earlier pointed out by Ateeq et al. (2006). The damaged cells could be lysed by lysosomal enzymes immediately thereby causing reduction in liver weight. The fish therefore remains the most vulnerable group of aquatic organism to pesticides and particularly Butachlor (Wany et al., 1992; Tilak et al., 2006). So its effect on the liver as a component of the gut is not surprising.
Ou et al. (2000) showed that Butachlor fasten liver cells formation. The high rate of liver cell formation may not be followed by regulation of the process, thereby preventing normal tissue arrangement and normal function. Butachlor can induce apoptosis both at molecular as well as cytological level (Ateeq et al.,2006). This unprogrammed cell death could be accountable for tissue degeneration. Ateeq et al. (2002) pointed out that Butachlor is a spindle fibre inhibitor which may therefore produce liver cells with abnormal sets of chromosomes. Such abnormal structures lead to abnormal physiological functions that are likely to stress the fish to death.
The hepatosomatic index was observed to be reducing with increasing Atrazine concentration. Ogunji et al. (2008) made similar observations when they substituted 40% of fish meal with dried distillers grains that hepatosomatic index reduced compared to control. Similarly, Gomex-Marquez et al. (2003) noted that hepatosomatic index has an inverse relationship with gonadosomatic index in Oreochromis niloticus. However, Lim et al. (2007) recorded that they could not find any change in the hepatosomatic index of Oreochromis niloticus exposed to different concentrations of vitamins C and E. But, increased concentrations of these vitamins in water increased their concentrations in the liver. Uchida et al. (2003) reported a reduction in the hepatosomatic index, condition factor as well as specific growth rate in the Nile tilapia that fasted for two weeks. Inability of fish to eat in the presence of xenobiotics is likely to cause similar reduction in liver weight and gonad weights. The use of herbicides around aquatic environment should be discouraged as they have deleterious effects on aquaculture production.
3 Materials and Methods
Plastic aquaria of 52 cm length, 38 cm width and 30 cm height were filled with stream water up to 20.3 cm level giving a volume of 40 litres of water per tank. These were subjected to five different concentrations of the pesticides namely, Glyphosate (Round up), Paraquat (Gramoxone), Butachlor (Rizene) and Atrazine. Each herbicide had concentrations labeled T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6 as described by Beitlich (1995), FAO (1997) and Martins et al. (2008). The concentrations were sub lethal, which is lower than their LC50, earlier determined by Ada (2011). T0 had zero concentration of pesticides and served as control. Ten fish specimens were selected randomly and stocked in each aquarium (APHA, 1981; Cengiz et al.,2001; Adeyemo, 2005; Ayoola, 2008). A static bioassay method was used. These experiments were replicated three times (Ayoola, 2008) for each concentration and for each chemical treatment. The formula for computing the amount of pesticides needed was:
V.CF.ppm/ Al (Decimal) = weight of chemical(Beitlich, 1995).
Where V=volume of water in the aquarium.
CF=conversion Factor.
PPM=the desired concentration of chemical/ pesticides required in.
The aquaria expressed as part per million.
AI=active ingredient, strength of chemical expressed as a Decimal (100 divided by % active).
Oreochromis niloticus specimens of size 5 g~14 g were obtained from Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Fish Farm. The sub-adults were used because gonad size and form changes with age, sex and period of spawning. The fish were fed for fourteen days and slaughtered at the end of the experiments. The fish, gonads and liver were weighed. The liver and gonads were removed and weighed using a digital balance (Scout-pro SPU402) for the liver and electronic balance (EB-3200D, Shimadzu Corporation, Kyoto, Japan) for gonads and whole fish. The gonadosomatic index and hepatosomatic index were obtained by dividing the weight of the gonads and liver respectively by the total weight of the fish (Koumiet al., 2008) expressed as percentages (Gomex-Marquez et al.,2003). Five fish were randomly selected and measured in each tank and their averages taken.
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