Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 10477–10493 | Cite as

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in coastal lagoons of the Po River delta: sediment contamination, bioaccumulation and effects on Manila clams

  • Nadia CasattaEmail author
  • Fabrizio Stefani
  • Fiorenzo Pozzoni
  • Licia Guzzella
  • Laura Marziali
  • Giuseppe Mascolo
  • Luigi Viganò
Recent sediments: environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and engineering


The large estuary that the River Po forms at its confluence into the Adriatic Sea comprises a multitude of transitional environments, including coastal lagoons. This complex system receives the nutrients transported by the River Po but also its load of chemical contaminants, which may pose a substantial (eco)toxicological risk. Despite the high ecological and economic importance of these vulnerable environments, there is a substantial lack of information on this risk. In light of the recent amendments of the European Water Framework Directive (2013/39/EU), the present study investigated the sediment contamination of six coastal lagoons of the Po delta and its effects on Manila clams (Ruditapes philippinarum), exposed in situ for 3 months. Sediment contamination and clam bioaccumulation of a wide range of chemicals, i.e. trace metals (Cd, Cr, Ni, Hg, Pb, As), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), alkylphenols (APs), organochlorine compounds (PCBs, DDTs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and organotins (TPhT, TBT), suggested a southward increase related to the riverine transports. Where the River Po influence was more direct, the concentrations of contaminants were higher, with nonylphenol and BDE-209 exceeding sediment quality guidelines. Biometric indicators suggested the influence of contamination on organism health; an inverse relationship between PBDEs in sediments and clam condition index has been found, as well as different biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs) in the lagoons.


Chronic exposure Northern Adriatic Sea Bioaccumulation Ruditapes philippinarum Lagoon sediment Priority substances 



This research was founded by the Ritmare Project, activity SP3_WP2_AZ3_UO03, “Esame del rischio ecotossicologico dovuto a inquinanti tradizionali ed emergenti in organismi residenti e degradazione di inquinanti organici nei sedimenti contaminati”. The authors are also grateful for the kind and valuable help of E. Turolla from the Istituto Delta di Ecologia Applicata, Ferrara, of V. Locaputo from the Water Research Institute, Bari, and of D. Mastroianni, Water Research Institute, Roma.

Supplementary material

11356_2015_5656_MOESM1_ESM.docx (7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 7196 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Casatta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabrizio Stefani
    • 1
  • Fiorenzo Pozzoni
    • 1
  • Licia Guzzella
    • 1
  • Laura Marziali
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Mascolo
    • 2
  • Luigi Viganò
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Research InstituteNational Research Council of ItalyBrugherio (MB)Italy
  2. 2.Water Research InstituteNational Research Council of ItalyBariItaly

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