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Recovery of Historically Contaminated Watercourse Polluted by the Chemical Wood Industry: EROD Activity in Fish as Biomarker

Ratia, Heli M., Vehniäinen, Eeva-Riikka, Rusanen, Antti T., Oikari, Aimo O.J.
Soil & sediment contamination 2014 v.23 no.2 pp. 211-225
Oncorhynchus mykiss, Perca fluviatilis, Rutilus rutilus, biomarkers, effluents, lakes, perch, sediments, wild fish, wood industry
Despite outstanding process alterations over decades, pulp- and paper-mill-contaminated sediments and continuing exposure by the effluents may still have effects on biota. In this study, ecotoxicological impacts in the boreal watercourse were analyzed by measuring ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) induction from wild fish populations and from experimentally exposed fish. In order to assess the role of sediment-borne chemicals, juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed in the laboratory to the surface sediments of Lake Vatianjärvi and Southern Lake Saimaa, both watercourses impacted by the chemical wood industry for approximately a century. Hepatic EROD activity was also measured from roach (Rutilus rutilus) and perch (Perca fluviatilis) caught in Lake Vatianjärvi. Increased EROD activity was not observed in wild fish caught in Lake Vatianjärvi nor in rainbow trout exposed to the sediment of Lake Vatianjärvi, but it was observed in rainbow trout exposed to the sediment of Southern Lake Saimaa, probably explained by critically high concentrations of retene. The results of both the laboratory and field study indicate the absence of EROD-inducing compounds of the previously heavily contaminated Lake Vatianjärvi.