Toadfish, Opsanus tau, L., were maintained in sea water equilibrated with gas mixtures containing a fixed proportion of oxygen and varying proportions of carbon monoxide. The swim-bladder was emptied by puncture, and, after an interval of 24 or 48 hours, the newly secreted gases were withdrawn and analyzed. Both carbon monoxide and oxygen are accumulated in the swim-bladder at tensions greater than ambient. The ratio of concentrations, carbon monoxide (secreted): carbon monoxide (administered) bears a constant relation to the ratio, oxygen (secreted): oxygen (administered). The value of the partition coefficient describing this relation is (α = 5.44). The two gases are considered to compete for a common intracellular carrier mediating their active transport. The suggestion is advanced that the intracellular oxygen carrier is a hemoglobin. Comparison of the proportions of carboxy- and oxyhemoglobin in the blood with the composition of the secreted gas proves that the secreted gases are not evolved directly from combination with blood hemoglobin. The suggestion is advanced that cellular oxygen secretion occurs in the rete mirabile: the rete may build up large oxygen tensions in the gas gland capillaries. It is suggested that the gas gland acts as a valve impeding back diffusion of gases from the swim-bladder.

This content is only available as a PDF.