, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 468-478

Accumulation and Soluble Binding of Cadmium, Copper, and Zinc in the Polychaete Hediste diversicolor from Coastal Sites with Different Trace Metal Bioavailabilities

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Bioaccumulation of cadmium, copper, and zinc was examined in common ragworms Hediste diversicolor from control (Bay of Somme, Blackwater) and metal-rich (Seine estuary, Boulogne harbor, Restronguet Creek) sites in France and the United Kingdom. The degree of exposure in the field was assessed by considering both total concentrations in superficial sediment and the quantities of metals which may be released in vitro at different pH levels. Among the three contaminated sites, release of the three metals was not detectable in Boulogne harbor, in correlation with limited enhancement of the metal concentrations in the common ragworms from this site. Even at those sites where zinc could be released in vitro from the sediment, zinc concentrations were not enhanced in common ragworms, in agreement with previous findings indicating that the body content of this metal is regulated in H. diversicolor. At all the studied sites, bioaccumulated zinc was mainly in cytosolic form. The distribution of cadmium and copper varied according to the origin of the common ragworms, the insoluble fraction increasing with the degree of contamination (cadmium in the Restronguet Creek, copper in the Seine estuary, and even more in Restronguet Creek). In the cytosolic fraction, metals were partly linked to cytosolic heat-stable thiolic compounds (CHSTC) with molecular masses (5–6 kDa and about 12 kDa) consistent with metallothionein-like proteins (MTLP). Metal-binding to MTLP varied with the degree of contamination and with the metal studied. In contrast to many invertebrates, the presence of metal-binding CHSTC (MM about 2 kDa) other than MTLP seems to be a peculiar feature of H. diversicolor.