RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GROWTH AND TOTAL NUCLEIC-ACIDS IN JUVENILE PINK SALMON, ONCORHYNCHUS-GORBUSCHA, FED CRUDE-OIL CONTAMINATED FOOD
Total nucleic acids of juvenile pink salmon, oncorhynchus gorbuscha, fed crude oil contaminated food were analyzed to determine if nucleic acid measurements can be used to evaluate growth of fish collected at oil spill sites. In general, the nucleic acid concentration (micrograms per milligram dry weight) of salmon fry fed food contaminated with either 0.37 or 2.78 mg crude oil/g food was not significantly affected. However, RNA concentration of fry fed food contaminated with 34.83 mg/g was reduced whereas DNA concentration increased. Results over 8 wk indicate decreased protein synthesis and cell content but maintenance of cell integrity in these fish. Growth was inversely related to the level of crude oil contamination in the food. The significant correlations between measured growth and RNA/DNA ratios and RNA contents (micrograms RNA per millimetre fork length) suggest that nucleic acid measurements can be used to compare growth of fish collected from the field.