Toxic contaminants and their biological effects in coastal waters of Xiamen, China. II. Biomarkers and embryo malformation rates as indicators of pollution stress in fish.

Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville MC, Qld.
Marine Pollution Bulletin (Impact Factor: 2.99). 09/2002; 44(8):761-9.
Source: PubMed


Baseline information is presented on embryo malformation rate and biomarkers in fish as indicators of sub-lethal stress caused by pollution in coastal waters of Xiamen, PR China. Fish and eggs were sampled from several areas in Xiamen coastal waters (Xiamen Harbour, Maluan and Tongan Bays and East Channel), where varying levels of pollutant input have been documented. Comparative sampling was done at a "cleaner" reference site at Dongshan Island. Embryonic malformation rates, which indicate general water quality, varied with location and species of fish, and exceeded background levels for unpolluted waters (assumed approximately 5%) by up to eightfold at some sites. Generally, sites around Xiamen Harbour show signs of poor water quality having highest mean levels of embryo deformity (20-30%) and these decreased towards open waters (Tongan Bay, Eastern Channel) where abnormalities approached background levels. An indication that toxic contaminants may be having a localised effect in the region, particularly in the harbour was reinforced by the biomarker assays. However, activities of the biomarkers ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) and glutathione S-transferase in fish livers indicate no clear pattern, and there is no evidence that fish from the four sampling areas have been more or less exposed to PAHs and other compounds that induce these biomarkers. Antioxidant biomarkers (glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase, and reduced glutathione) suggest that exposure to xenobiotics appears to be lowest in Dongshan and Maluan and highest in the harbour and Tongan. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase in fish muscle indicated possible effects by organophosphate and carbamate pesticides in Xiamen waters and these effects may be greatest in the area of the harbour.

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    • "Interestingly, another study of Coho salmon indicated that measuring MT mRNA levels in the olfactory system of salmon was more sensitive than in the liver, suggesting tissue‐specific differences in MT induction (Espinoza et al. 2012). Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition has long been used as a biomarker for exposure to, as well as effects of, carbamate and organophosphorus pesticides in both fish and invertebrates (reviewed in Fulton and Key 2001; Klumpp et al. 2002), although it is not always as effective a biomarker for mollusks due to avoidance behaviors (Cooper and Bidwell 2006). AChE inhibition is a rare and in some ways ideal biomarker as it indicates both exposure and effects. "
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    • "Similar abnormalities has been reported (in different degrees) among others batoids species, such as Bathyraja richardsoni (Garrick, 1961) (Forster, 1967), Amblyraja radiata (Donovan, 1808), Raja brachyura Lafont, 1873 (Templeman, 1965), Potamotrygon motoro (Müller & Henle, 1841) (Rosas et al., 1996), Dasyatis akajei (Müller & Henle, 1841) (Honma & Sugihara, 1971) and Dasyatis longa (Garman, 1880) (Escobar-Sánchez et al., 2009). Congenital abnormalities are usually linked to different causes as: endogamy (Sari et al., 2008), parasites (Kelly et al., 2009) or with exposure to environmental degradation or pollution of the mother (Klumpp et al., 2002), unfortunately this study cannot be conclusive about the causes of this specifically malformation and further studies should be done on this and other species to identify their possible causes. "
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    • "In fish, developmental malformations have been linked to the presence of several environmental pollutants such as persistent organochlorines, pesticides, or heavy metals (Westernhagen von 1988). In several studies, direct embryotoxicity has resulted from the presence of complex matrices such as oil (Heintz et al. 1999), and recently, tests for embryonic malformations in fish have been used as general water quality indicators (Klumpp et al. 2002). "
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