DNA damage in eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) from Göteborg harbour
The relationship between DNA damage and the exposure of marine organisms to environmental contaminants was examined in the Göteborg harbour area. This research is part of a wider ecotoxicological study planned to evaluate the biological impact of chemical contamination in the River Göta estuary, following a bunker oil (10-100 tonnes) spill occurred in June 2003. Here we present data on the DNA strand breaks derived using the comet assay and the presence of apoptotic cells using the diffusion assay in nucleated erythrocytes of the eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) from the study area and at a clean reference site. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites were also analyzed in the bile of exposed fish. The results showed a high level of damaged DNA, paralleled by a peak in bile PAH metabolites, in fish from the most impacted site, 3 weeks after the oil spill. A significant recovery was observed in specimens from the spill site, 5 months later, but not in fish caught in the middle part of Göteborg harbour, which is chronically subjected to heavy chemical pollution. The levels of apoptic cells did not show any marked variations, but a significant recovery was observed in fish from the oil impacted site 5 months after the spill.
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