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Limitations of metallothioneins in common cockles (Cerastoderma edule) and sponges (Haliclona oculata) as biomarkers of heavy metal contamination in a semi-enclosed coastal area

Limitations of metallothioneins in common cockles (Cerastoderma edule) and sponges (Haliclona oculata) as biomarkers of heavy metal contamination in a semi-enclosed coastal area
Limitations of metallothioneins in common cockles (Cerastoderma edule) and sponges (Haliclona oculata) as biomarkers of heavy metal contamination in a semi-enclosed coastal area
Poole Harbour is typical of many heavily anthropologically impacted semi-enclosed estuarine coastal areas under pressure from metal pollution across the world. This study examined the physiological significance of metal burdens within that sensitive area, and assessed the potential use of metallothioneins (MT) concentrations in two organisms: the common cockle (Cerastoderma edule) and the Mermaid’s glove sponge (Haliclona oculata) for mapping the spatial extent of the biological response to metal contamination. A spectrophotometric method was applied for detection of MT in the bivalve, and for the first time to detect MT in sponges. The results show that while some metal concentrations in cockle and sponge tissues and in their surrounding environment (water and sediment) could be related to sources of metal contamination, MT values in the soft tissue of cockles and whole tissue of sponges are not. No relation could be found between MT in both cockles and sponges, and any of the tested metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, Ag, Sn, Zn). Furthermore, some of the lowest MT concentrations were detected in heavily polluted areas, indicating that MT concentrations in tested organisms are not exclusively associated with metal concentrations, as other environmental factors could affect induction of this protein. Organisms probably have a high tolerance to metal contamination and chronic exposure to a high level of contamination resulted in developing a variety of detoxification mechanisms. Results indicate that further study of metal stress in this type of ecosystem may need to examine other indicator species and/or apply a different biomonitoring technique.
0048-9697
391-397
Aly, W.
4b085a28-396a-4ee8-8ac0-e71d801e1510
Williams, I.D.
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Hudson, M.D.
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Aly, W.
4b085a28-396a-4ee8-8ac0-e71d801e1510
Williams, I.D.
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Hudson, M.D.
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55

Aly, W., Williams, I.D. and Hudson, M.D. (2014) Limitations of metallothioneins in common cockles (Cerastoderma edule) and sponges (Haliclona oculata) as biomarkers of heavy metal contamination in a semi-enclosed coastal area. Science of the Total Environment, 473-474, 391-397. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.136).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Poole Harbour is typical of many heavily anthropologically impacted semi-enclosed estuarine coastal areas under pressure from metal pollution across the world. This study examined the physiological significance of metal burdens within that sensitive area, and assessed the potential use of metallothioneins (MT) concentrations in two organisms: the common cockle (Cerastoderma edule) and the Mermaid’s glove sponge (Haliclona oculata) for mapping the spatial extent of the biological response to metal contamination. A spectrophotometric method was applied for detection of MT in the bivalve, and for the first time to detect MT in sponges. The results show that while some metal concentrations in cockle and sponge tissues and in their surrounding environment (water and sediment) could be related to sources of metal contamination, MT values in the soft tissue of cockles and whole tissue of sponges are not. No relation could be found between MT in both cockles and sponges, and any of the tested metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, Ag, Sn, Zn). Furthermore, some of the lowest MT concentrations were detected in heavily polluted areas, indicating that MT concentrations in tested organisms are not exclusively associated with metal concentrations, as other environmental factors could affect induction of this protein. Organisms probably have a high tolerance to metal contamination and chronic exposure to a high level of contamination resulted in developing a variety of detoxification mechanisms. Results indicate that further study of metal stress in this type of ecosystem may need to examine other indicator species and/or apply a different biomonitoring technique.

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Published date: 1 March 2014
Organisations: Centre for Environmental Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 360906
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360906
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: b36ab184-388a-4968-9f13-e9b6a751f72f
ORCID for I.D. Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219

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Date deposited: 08 Jan 2014 10:18
Last modified: 07 Aug 2019 00:42

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Contributors

Author: W. Aly
Author: I.D. Williams ORCID iD
Author: M.D. Hudson

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