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Imposex assessment and tributyltin levels in sediments along the Atlantic coast of South Africa

van Gessellen, Nicole, Bouwman, Hindrik, Averbuj, Andres
Marine environmental research 2018 v.142 pp. 32-39
Gastropoda, aquaculture, coasts, dibutyltin, females, penis, pollution, sediments, sex differentiation disorders, surveys, tributyltin, South Africa
Female marine gastropods develop imposex (growth of penis/vas deferens) when exposed to TBT (tributyltin). Ours, is the first report of an imposex survey associated with TBT in sediment along 920 km of South Africa's Atlantic coastline. We sampled and analysed 1389 individuals of 13 caenogastropod species, and sediment samples from 25 sites, presumed impacted and not impacted by TBT pollution. Imposex was detected in six species not previously reported to suffer from this phenomenon, at eight sites, with up to 100% of females affected. Butyltins were found at quantifiable concentrations at four sites, with TBT and DBT (dibutyltin) concentrations in sediments up to 20 000 μg/kg dry mass (dm) and 3740 μg/kg dm, respectively. These findings are of major concern considering that TBT has been banned globally since 2008 by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) - more extensive research is required in areas affected by TBT and where aquaculture is present.