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Acanthocephalan Parasites (Acanthogyrus sp.) of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as Biosink of Lead (Pb) Contamination in a Philippine Freshwater Lake

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The potential use of acanthocephalans as bioindicators of Lead (Pb) pollution in Sampaloc Lake, Laguna, Philippines was investigated. Nile tilapias (Oreochromis niloticus) were collected and Pb concentrations were determined in fish tissues and in their acanthocephalan parasites, Acanthogyrus sp. Significantly higher levels of Pb were detected in the parasites relative to the fish host tissues (p = 0.001). Bioaccumulation capacity of the parasites against fish tissues were 102, 119, and 147 times higher than the fish intestine, liver, and muscles, respectively. Pb sensitivity of the parasites was quantified by exact logistic analysis showing higher odds of Pb detection ranging from 18 to 45 folds (p = 0.001–0.009). Interestingly, infected fish showed significantly lower Pb concentration in their tissues compared to uninfected fish (p = 0.001), suggesting parasites were able to sequester Pb and served as active biosinks. The Pb levels in the parasites were also hundred folds higher (988 times) relative to the ambient waters, indicating a potential role of fish parasites as metal biosinks in aquatic ecosystems.

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This research study was funded by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) under the implementation of the Parasitology Research Laboratory of the Animal Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños.

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Correspondence to Vachel Gay V. Paller.

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Paller, V.G.V., Resurreccion, D.J.B., de la Cruz, C.P.P. et al. Acanthocephalan Parasites (Acanthogyrus sp.) of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as Biosink of Lead (Pb) Contamination in a Philippine Freshwater Lake. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 96, 810–815 (2016).

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