Marine Biology

, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 193–202 | Cite as

Physiological evaluation of naphthalene intoxication in the tropical acrid clam Anadara granosa

  • B. Patel
  • J. T. Eapen


Changes in vital physiological activities — shell movements and burrowing behaviour, uptake and depuration, filtration and respiration — on exposure to sublethal concentrations of naphthalene (Nap) were investigated in the tropical arcid blood clam Anadara granosa L. from the Bombay coast in 1986. On exposure to ambient concentrations exceeding 5μg Nap ml-1, shell valves opened widely within the first hour of exposure. The compressed muscular foot was stretched vertically upwards with copious secretion of mucus, and did not exhibit any evidence of burrowing behaviour. Those exposed to 5μg Nap ml-1 regained their normal physiological activities on transfer to stressor-free medium, whereas those exposed to higher levels became intoxicated and narcotized. Bioaccumulation of Nap was dependent upon environmental concentration, increasing exponentially with time over a 9h exposure period. Further exposure, up to 96h, however, did not increase tissue levels substantially. About 65% of the total body burden of Nap was depurated within 3h of transfer to Nap-free medium. Rates of filtration and oxygen consumption were significantly reduced (ca 70%, p<0.001) compared to control clams. Percent inhibition in these physiological activities was dependent upon tissue and ambient concentrations of Nap. On transfer to pollutant-free medium, clams exhibited remarkable recovery. Rates of both filtration and oxygen consumption were gradually increased and restored to normal levels, as observed in controls. However, clams exposed to upper limits lost their ability to burrow back into the sedimentary bed, leaving them susceptable to predators. Furthermore, induction of anaerobiosis and disruption of osmotic balance on exposure to Nap together with aerial exposure at low-water periods and salinity changes, acted synergistically and proved detrimental. The rates of growth and mortality observed in the natural population of blood clams, harvested from the coastal waters off Bombay, have been explained in terms of the impact of petroleum and allied waste products released from petrochemical industries.


Naphthalene Bioaccumulation Physiological Activity Ambient Concentration Sublethal Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Patel
    • 1
  • J. T. Eapen
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Physics DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreBombayIndia

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