Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 15, pp 14937–14944 | Cite as

Absence of effects of different types of detergents on the cholinesterasic activity and histological markers of mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) after a sub-lethal chronic exposure

  • B. Nunes
  • M. T. Miranda
  • A. T. Correia
Research Article


The release of anthropogenic compounds into the aquatic environment has been a particular concern, since some of these substances exhibit biologic activity of different types in non-target species. Among anthropogenic compounds present in the aquatic compartment, detergents are commonly found and may be responsible for physiological modifications in exposed organisms. The impairment of key physiological functions, such as neurotransmission, and tissue damage in some important organs, has been used to assess the effects of several classes of xenobiotics, including detergents, in aquatic organisms. The present study intended to assess the effect of three types of detersive compounds (sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS), benzalkonium chloride (BZC), and Triton X-100 (TX100)) in the acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE) and tissue damage (gills and liver) of Gambusia holbrooki after a chronic exposure to realistic levels of these compounds. SDS, BZC, and TX100 did not cause any significant alteration in AChE. Furthermore, no specific gross morphological changes were also observed in the gills and liver of the exposed individuals. It is possible to conclude that, under ecologically relevant conditions of exposure, both tissue damage and cholinesterasic impairment are not toxicological pathways affected by detergents in G. holbrooki.


Sodium dodecylsulfate Triton X-100 Benzalkonium chloride Histological damage Acetylcholinesterase Biomarkers Mosquitofish 



Thanks are due, for the financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017), to FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. Bruno Nunes was hired under the program Investigador FCT, co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme (National Strategic Reference Framework 2007–2013) and European Social Fund (EU).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM)Campus Universitário de Santiago, Universidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Fernando Pessoa (FCS-UFP)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR - CIMAR)PortoPortugal

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