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Bioaccumulation of human waterborne protozoa by zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha): Interest for water biomonitoring

Palos Ladeiro, M., Aubert, D., Villena, I., Geffard, A., Bigot, A.
Water research 2014 v.48 pp. 148-155
Cryptosporidium parvum, Dreissena polymorpha, Giardia lamblia, Toxoplasma gondii, aquatic organisms, bioaccumulation, ecotoxicology, filtration, humans, laboratory experimentation, models, muscle tissues, mussels, oocysts, pathogens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, surface water, water pollution
Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia duodenalis and Toxoplasma gondii are ubiquitous pathogens, which waterborne transmission has been largely demonstrated. Since they can be found in various watercourses, interactions with aquatic organisms are possible. Protozoan detection for watercourses biomonitoring is currently based on large water filtration. The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is a choice biological model in ecotoxicological studies which are already in use to detect chemical contaminations in watercourses. In the present study, the zebra mussel was tested as a new tool for detecting water contamination by protozoa. In vivo exposures were conducted in laboratory experiments. Zebra mussel was exposed to various protozoan concentrations for one week. Detection of protozoa was realized by Taqman real time qPCR. Our experiments evidenced C. parvum, G. duodenalis and T. gondii oocyst bioaccumulation by mussels proportionally to ambient contamination, and significant T. gondii prevalence was observed in muscle tissue. To our knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrates T. gondii oocyst accumulation by zebra mussel. The results from this study highlight the capacity of zebra mussels to reveal ambient biological contamination, and thus to be used as a new effective tool in sanitary biomonitoring of water bodies.