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Biomarkers of exposure to metal contamination and lipid peroxidation in the benthic fish Cathorops spixii from two estuaries in South America, Brazil

Abstract

Biomarkers as lipid peroxidation, metallothionein and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase were determined in Cathorops spixii to compare the biological responses of this fish from estuaries with distinct anthropogenic influence. Three areas were selected in two estuaries in accordance with the levels of contamination for the polluted (Santos/São Vicente) and with the hydrodynamic characteristics for the non-polluted (Cananéia) estuary. Water characteristics and mercury levels in C. spixii confirmed a high human influence in the polluted system. In general, the biomarkers showed differences between the estuaries, suggesting disturbances in the specific cell mechanisms due to the presence of multiple xenobiotics in the contaminated system. Therefore, these biomarkers are recommended to promote more accurate information about the exposure to pollutants. Additionally, the study of the effect of the multiple xenobiotics on resident species such as the benthic fish C. spixii can favor a better assessment of the environmental quality of these systems.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by CAPES (Brazilian Agencies for Science and Technology), Oceanographic Institute of University of São Paulo and the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry of the University of Algarve. J. S. Azevedo was a recipient of fellowships from CAPES (PDEE).

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Correspondence to J. S. Azevedo.

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Azevedo, J.S., Serafim, A., Company, R. et al. Biomarkers of exposure to metal contamination and lipid peroxidation in the benthic fish Cathorops spixii from two estuaries in South America, Brazil. Ecotoxicology 18, 1001–1010 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-009-0370-x

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Keywords

  • Metallothionein
  • ALAD activity
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Mercury
  • Cathorops spixii
  • Santos/São Vicente
  • Cananéia