Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health Sciences

First Advisor

Huiling L. Nie

Committee Chair

Huiling L. Nie

Committee Member 1

Jennifer L. Freeman

Committee Member 2

James Schweitzer


Standard curves for a Perkin Elmer TriCarb 2800 liquid scintillation detector (LSC) and a Ludlum 3030p Passivated Implanted Planar Silicon detector have been developed and utilized for studying the dose distribution of depleted uranium (DU) within zebrafish. The DU source was crystallized uranyl nitrate (N2O8U•6H2O) solution, normally used for staining in electron microscopy with a manufactured average specific activity of 0.3 uCi/g. Zebrafish, both larvae and adults, were exposed to three different mass concentrations, dissected, dissolved and counted using an LSC. The counts were compared to the standard curve correlating the measured activity to that of the mass absorbed. It was found that the larvae were more tolerant to the toxicity of the DU by almost a factor of 10 showing survival up to 200 ppm where the adults had zero survival when exposed to concentrations above 20 ppm. The absorbed DU was observed to concentrate more heavily in the skeletal structure and the blood containing organs (liver and heart) when comparing the relative mass concentrations observed in each organ compared to that of the whole fish exposed to the same concentration. The highest absorbed dose rate was found in the skeletal system at 3.5 mGy/d followed by the blood containing organs at 2.2 mGy/d when exposed to 20 ppm DU. It was also noted that the bioconcentration factors (BCF) of the adult zebrafish followed the same trend observed in similar studies. As the mass concentration of DU was lowered, the BCF calculated for fish exposed increased with a BCF of 130.6 found for those exposed to 20 ppm U and a BCF of 774.2 for fish exposed to 2 ppm. This method shows to present a suitable way of developing a dose distribution for DU along with similar isotopes which will be instrumental in studying the long term effects of more specific exposures to natural radioactive metals combined with other common environmental exposures.