Effects of DDT on eggshell quality and calcium adenosine triphosphatase.
Adult mallard ducks were fed a diet containing 50 ppm DDT for 6 months. Eggs laid during this period were collected and eggshell weight, thickness, and calcium were determined. Chronic ingestion of DDT resulted in production of eggshells that were significantly thinner and lighter than those of controls. Total calcium of thinned eggshells was also reduced; however, calcium per gram of eggshell was not altered, indicating that other eggshell constituents were not incorporated as well. Calcium adenosine triphosphatase activity in the microsomal fraction of eggshell gland epithelium was assayed in control and DDT-fed ducks. Enzyme activity in DDT-fed ducks was reduced to 65% of control values. Since Ca-ATPase has been shown to be associated with calcium transport, enzyme inhibition may be responsible for decreased eggshell weight and thickness. Electron microscopic evaluation of microsomal fractions showed elements of the plasma membrane, including cilia and microvilli, as well as rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Inhibition of calcium transport at the plasma membrane of mucosal epithelium is proposed as a possible mechanism of DDT-induced eggshell thinning.
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