Linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS) is among the most widely disseminated xenobiotics to enter waste streams and the aquatic environment. In the present investigation, we present a novel approach to evaluate in toxicity of LAS. The effects of sublethal levels (0.2 and 0.4 mg/l) of LAS on non-specific immune system, phagocytosis, respiratory burst and lyzosyme activity, and specific growth rate in the rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, during a 54-day exposure were examined by a static bioassay test procedure. The phagocytic activity of leukocytes from fish exposed to 0.4 mg/l LAS statistically decreased compared with the control fish values. No significant reductions were observed in the extra-intracellular respiratory burst and lysozyme activities after exposure to LAS at any of the concentrations tested. The final body weight in fish groups exposed to the LAS were found to be significantly lower than in the control. The specific growth rate results also supported the result above. The results of this study showed sublethal doses (0.2-0.4 mg/l) of LAS caused to statistically insignificant supression of non-specific immune system mechanisms excluding phagocytosis in fish at laboratory conditions. These doses of LAS may produce potential synergism on immune system when presented with other environmental pollutants. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.