1. 1.

    Immediately following burst swimming, the oxygen consumption of rainbow trout increased by 71%, carbon dioxide excretion by 104% and the respiratory exchange ratio by 17%. 80 min after burst swimming all of these parameters had returned to levels which were not significantly different from control values. 2. Infusion of adrenaline into resting fish had no significant effect on oxygen consumption or carbon dioxide excretion and therefore there was no significant change in the respiratory exchange ratio. 3. This infusion of adrenaline caused a significant elevation in the red blood cell pH which was still present 80 min later. 4. The present results contrast with those of van den Thillart, Randall & Lin (1983), who demonstrated carbon dioxide retention after burst swimming. While it is possible that catecholamines may inhibit bicarbonate flux through the red blood cell, our experiments indicate that this inhibition would not result in detectable changes in carbon dioxide excretion or, therefore, in the respiratory exchange ratio.

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