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Chronic bioassay in benthic fish for the assessment of the quality of sediments in different areas of the coast of Spain impacted by acute and chronic oil spills

Jiménez-Tenorio, Natalia, Salamanca, María José, García-Luque, Enrique, González de Canales, María Luisa, DelValls, T. Ángel
Environmental toxicology 2008 v.23 no.5 pp. 634-642
Solea senegalensis, aquariums, bioassays, biomarkers, enzyme activity, fish, gills, glass, glutathione transferase, industry, liver, oil spills, petroleum, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, sediments, toxicity, traffic, Spain
More and more, the coastal regions of the world suffer from the contamination of petroleum hydrocarbon [principally polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)]. This contamination can be acute, as it happened in the Coast of Galicia (NW, Spain) by the oil spill from a tanker, or chronic by the existence of high maritime traffic and a lot of industries as it is the case of the Bay of Algeciras (BA) (SW, Spain). It is of a great concern due to the toxicity, especially in sediments and ecosystem associated to it. The objective of this study is to assess, through chronic bioassay, sediment toxicity in samples collected in different littoral areas of Spain and to compare the damage caused in benthic fish, Solea senegalensis, according to that which suffers acute spill (Coast of Galicia) or chronic spill (the BA) by means of histopathology methods and enzymatic activities studies. Organisms were exposed to different sediments from Galician Coast and the BA during 42 days and every sample was analyzed by triplicate in glass aquaria. At the end of the bioassay, histopathological diseases were analyzed in the gills, target organ. Likewise, stress parameters as ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) and the glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) activities were determined in the liver. Results showed a significant positive correlation between the biomarkers of exposure (EROD and GST), biomarkers of effect (histopathology), and PAHs concentrations in the sediments.