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Recovery of hepatic function and latent mortalities in sheep exposed to the blue-green alga Microcystis aeruginosa
  1. CR Carbis,
  2. DL Waldron,
  3. GF Mitchell,
  4. JW Anderson and
  5. I McCauley
  1. LaTrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


Seventeen sheep died, and many others showed signs of hepatogenous photosensitivity after being exposed to Microcystis aeruginosa at Lake Mokoan, Victoria, Australia. Two groups of sheep were observed, and their hepatic recovery was monitored by means of serum biochemical tests during the subsequent six months. During the first three weeks, their serum gamma-glutamyl transferase activity and bilirubin concentration declined rapidly to normal levels, and the signs of hepatogenous photosensitivity disappeared. Serum bile acid concentrations were above normal for almost three months. Thirty-four per cent of the sheep died during the observation period, and the serum biochemical tests provided no clear indication of the cause of these delayed mortalities. This study suggests that sublethal exposure to microcystins may cause prolonged morbidity and delayed mortality.

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