Genotoxic damage in Solea senegalensis exposed to sediments from the Sado Estuary (Portugal): Effects of metallic and organic contaminants

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JuvenileSolea senegalensis(Senegalese sole) were exposed to freshly collected sediments from three sites of the Sado Estuary (West-Portuguese coast) in 28-day laboratory assays in order to assess the ecological risk from sediment contaminants, by measuring two genotoxicity biomarkers in peripheral blood: the percentage of Erythrocyte Nuclear Abnormalities (ENA) by use of an adaptation of the micronucleus test, and the percentage of DNA strand-breakage (DNA-SB) with the Comet assay. Sediments were surveyed for metallic (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd and Pb) and organic (PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and DDTs (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane)) contaminants. Sediments from site A (farthest from hotspots of contamination) were found to be the least contaminated and weaker inducers of genotoxic damage, whereas sediments from sites B (urban influence) and C (affected by industrial effluents and agricultural runoffs) were responsible for a very significant increase in both ENA and DNA-SB, site B being most contaminated with metals and site C mainly with organic pollutants, especially PAHs and PCBs . Analysis of genotoxic effects showed a strong correlation between the concentrations of PAHs and PCBs and both biomarkers at sampling times T14and T28, while the amounts of Cu, As, Cd and Pb were less strongly correlated, and at T28only, with ENA and DNA-SB. These results show that organic contaminants in sediment are stronger and faster acting genotoxic stressors. The results also suggest that metals may have an inhibitory effect on genotoxicity when interacting with organic contaminants, at least during early exposure. ENA and DNA-SB do not show a linear relationship, but a strong correlation exists between the overall increase in genotoxicity caused by exposure to sediment, confirming that they are different, and possibly non-linked effects that respond similarly to exposure. Although the Comet assay showed enhanced sensitivity, the two analyses are complementary and suitable for the biomonitoring of sediment contaminants in a benthic species likeS. senegalensis.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)29-37
JournalMutation Research-Genetic Toxicology And Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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