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Laser-induced fluorescence in fish scales to evaluate the environmental integrity of ecosystems

Santana, Cristiane Ávila, Lima, Dinorah Machado Vaz, da Cunha Andrade, Luis Humberto, Súarez, Yzel Rondon, Lima, Sandro Marcio
Journal of photochemistry and photobiology 2016 v.165 pp. 80-86
Astyanax altiparanae, aquatic ecosystems, collagen, electrical conductivity, environmental factors, fluorescence, hydrochemistry, hydroxyapatite, indicator species, monitoring, photons, physicochemical properties, rivers, scales (integument), statistical analysis, streams, ultraviolet radiation, wavelengths, weather
The aim of this study was to evaluate the fluorescence of Astyanax lacustris fish scales when excited in the UV-A and blue regions for use as a bioindicator of aquatic ecosystems. This species was firstly defined as Astyanax altiparanae, popularly known as “lambari-do-rabo-amarelo”. Currently, abiotic/biotic environmental integrity is generally assessed using limnological and physicochemical parameters related to biological indicators in streams or rivers, which are not sufficient to evaluate the real environmental conditions: in some cases, these parameters can be strongly dependent on local weather conditions. In this study, after the fish scales were excited with UV-A (360nm) and blue (405nm) photons, a strong and broad visible fluorescence band (from blue to red) could be observed that was mainly related to collagen and hydroxyapatite, independent of whether the excitation was applied to the inside or outside of the scale. Selected emission wavelengths were used as variables and the fluorescence intensities were interpreted using multivariate discriminant statistical analysis to compare streams with known different levels of integrity. The fluorescence data showed strong correlation with the electrical conductivity of the water, indicating that the scales of A. lacustris could be employed as bioindicators of environmental integrity on water chemistry monitoring programs.