Evaluation of the bioremediation potential of mud polychaete Marphysa sp. in aquaculture pond sediments

  • Mary Anne E. Mandario
  • Veronica R. Alava
  • Nathaniel C. AñascoEmail author
Research Article


Organic enrichment from aquaculture could alter the chemical composition of the fishpond bottom by increasing the levels of organic matter (OM), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), and lower pH of the sediment. Polychaetes can contribute to the nutrient cycling and remediation of polluted sediment. A laboratory experiment was conducted to test the remediation potential of small and large mud polychaete Marphysa sp. introduced to two types of fishpond sediment. Initially, Sediment A had lower OM, S, Fe, and higher pH than Sediment B. After 30 days, in Sediment B, large polychaetes significantly decreased the OM level (27%) while both small and large polychaetes promoted significant decreases of S (71%) and Fe (70–73%) in both sediment types. The increase of sediment pH was promoted by the presence of polychaetes (0.53–0.69) although pH level in small polychaete was not significantly different with the no polychaete treatment. Regardless of polychaete treatment, the pH level of Sediment B (1.04 ± 0.10) was significantly improved than that of Sediment A (0.17 ± 0.02). In both sediments, large polychaetes (95%) had better survival rates than small polychaetes (73%). These findings reveal that large Marphysa sp. can significantly improve sediment quality by decreasing the levels of OM, S, and Fe and improve pH level to a more basic form without compromising its survival. Large polychaetes are recommended to be used as bioremediators of organically enriched aquaculture pond sediment.


Bloodworm Deposit feeder Fishpond Organic pollution Bioturbation 



The first author is grateful to the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (DOST-SEI ASTHRDP) and UPV, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) for the scholarship and thesis grant, respectively. The authors are thankful to Vicente T. Balinas (statistician), the staff of Laboratory for Advanced Aquaculture Technology (LFAAT) and Polychaete Production Laboratory (Study Code FD-03-08 T) of SEAFDEC/AQD.


  1. Ackefors H, Enell M (1994) The release of nutrients and organic matter from aquaculture systems in Nordic countries. J Appl Ichthyol 10(4):225–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alava VR, Biñas JB, Mandario MAE (2015) Development of techniques for sustainable production of marine annelids as feed for broodstock crab Scylla serrata. Program A. Project 1. Refinement of Mud Crab Hatchery Techniques. Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAANRRD) - SEAFDEC/AQD. 94 ppGoogle Scholar
  3. AOAC (2000) Official methods of analysis. 17th edition. The Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Gaithersburg, MD, USA. Methods 925. 10, 65.17, 974.24, 992.16.Google Scholar
  4. Axler R, Larsen C, Tikkanen C, McDonald M, Yokom S, Aas P (1996) Water quality issues associated with aquaculture: a case study in mine pit lakes. Water Environ Res 68(6):995–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Belzunce-Segarra MJ, Simpson SL, Amato ED, Spadaro DA, Hamilton IL, Jarolimek CV, Jolley DF (2015) The mismatch between bioaccumulation in field and laboratory environments: interpreting the differences for metals in benthic bivalves. Environ Pollut 204:48–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyd CE, Wood CW, Thunjai T (2002) Aquaculture pond bottom soil quality management. Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support Program, Oregon State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown N, Eddy S, Plaud S (2011) Utilization of waste from a marine recirculating fish culture system as a feed source for the polychaete worm, Nereis virens. Aquaculture 322:177–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brune DE, Schwartz G, Eversole AG, Collier JA, Schwedler TE (2003) Intensification of pond aquaculture and high rate photosynthetic systems. Aquac Eng 28(1):65–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buhmann A, Papenbrock J (2013) Biofiltering of aquaculture effluents by halophytic plants: basic principles, current uses and future perspectives. Environ Exp Bot 92:122–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ciutat A, Boudou A (2003) Bioturbation effects on cadmium and zinc transfers from a contaminated sediment and on metal bioavailability to benthic bivalves. Environ Toxicol Chem 22(7):1574–1581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coman GJ, Arnold SJ, Callaghan TR, Preston NP (2007) Effect of two maturation diet combinations on reproductive performance of domesticated Penaeus monodon. Aquaculture 263:75–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Durborow RM, Crosby DM, Brunson MW (1997) Nitrite in fish ponds, fact sheet No. 462, Southern Regional Aquaculture CenterGoogle Scholar
  13. Ekpo BO, Ita OE, Offem JO, Adie PA (2012) Anthropogenic PAHs in sediment-dwelling biota from mangrove areas of the Calabar River, SE Niger Delta, Nigeria. Environ Nat Resour Res 2(4):89Google Scholar
  14. Engel M, Behnke A, Klier J, Buschbaum C, Volkenborn N, Stoeck T (2012) Effects of the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina on the structure of benthic protistan communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 471:87–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Engle CR, Valderrama D (2003) Farm-level costs of settling basins for treatment of effluents from levee-style catfish ponds. Aquac Eng 28(3):171–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Faulwetter S, Markantonatou V, Pavloudi C, Papageorgiou N, Keklikoglou K, Chatzinikolaou E, Pafilis E, Chatzigeorgiou G, Vasileiadou K, Dailianis T (2014) Polytraits: a database on biological traits of marine polychaetes. Biodivers Data J 2:1024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fortes NR, Pahila IG (1992) Manual of soil and water chemical analyses for brackishwater ponds. Leganes, Iloilo, Brackishwater Aquaculture Center, College of Fisheries, U.P. in the Visayas. 121 pGoogle Scholar
  18. Fruzińska R (2011) Accumulation of iron in the soil-plant system in a metal industry area. Civil Environ Eng Reports 7:59–68Google Scholar
  19. Golez NV (2000) Practical Guide for Soil and Water Analysis. Presented at the 3rd country training programme on responsible aquaculture developmentGoogle Scholar
  20. Gómez S, Hurtado CF, Orellana J (2019) Bioremediation of organic sludge from a marine recirculating aquaculture system using the polychaete Abarenicola pusilla (Quatrefages, 1866). Aquaculture 507:377–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gowen RJ, Bradbury NB (1987) The ecological impact of salmonid farming in coastal waters: a review. Oceanogr Mar Biol 25:563–575Google Scholar
  22. Grieshaber MK, Völkel S (1998) Animal adaptations for tolerance and exploitation of poisonous sulfide. Annu Rev Physiol 60(1):33–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haimi J (2000) Decomposer animals and bioremediation of soils. Environ Pollut 107:233–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hargrave BT, Holmer M, Newcombe CP (2008) Towards a classification of organic enrichment in marine sediments based on biogeochemical indicators. Mar Pollut Bull 56:810–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heilskov AC, Holmer M (2003) Influence of benthic fauna on organic matter decomposition in organic-enriched fish farm sediments. Life Environ 53:53–161Google Scholar
  26. Heilskov AC, Alperin M, Holmer M (2006) Benthic fauna bio-irrigation effects on nutrient regeneration in fish farm sediments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 339(2):204–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holmer M, Duarte CM, Heilskov A, Olesen B, Terrados J (2003) Biogeochemical conditions in sediments enriched by organic matter from net-pen fish farms in the Bolinao area, Philippines. Mar Pollut Bull 46:1470–1479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ito K, Nozaki M, Kunihiro T, Miura C, Miura T (2011) Study of sediment cleanup using polychaetes. Interdisciplinary Studies on Environmental Chemistry — Marine Environmental Modeling & Analysis, Eds., K. Omori X, Guo N, Yoshie N, Fujii IC, Handoh A, Isobe and S. Tanabe, pp. 133–139.Google Scholar
  29. Jones AB, Dennison WC, Preston NP (2001) Integrated treatment of shrimp effluent by sedimentation, oyster filtration and macroalgal absorption: a laboratory scale study. Aquaculture 193(1-2):155–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kalantzi I, Karakassis I (2006) Benthic impacts of fish farming: meta-analysis of community and geochemical data. Mar Pollut Bull 52(5):484–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kinoshita K, Tamaki S, Yoshioka M, Srithonguthai S, Kunihiro T, Hama D, Tsutsumi H (2008) Bioremediation of organically enriched sediment deposited below fish farms with artificially mass-cultured colonies of a deposit-feeding polychaete Capitella sp. I. Fish Sci 74(1):77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kristensen E (2001) Impact of polychaetes (Nereis and Arenicola) on sediment biogeochemistry in coastal areas: past, present, and future developments. In: Abstract of Papers of the American Chemical Society 221, U538–U538Google Scholar
  33. Kristensen E, Kostka JE (2005) Macrofaunal burrows and irrigation in marine sediment: microbiological and biogeochemical interactions. Coast Estuar Stud 60:125–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kristensen E, Mikkelsen OL (2003) Impact of the burrow-dwelling polychaete Nereis diversicolor on the degradation of fresh and aged macroalgal detritus in a coastal marine sediment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 265:141–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kristensen E, Jensen MH, Andersen TK (1985) The impact of polochaete (Nereis virens Sars) burrows on nitrification and nitrate reduction in estuarine sediments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 85:75–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kristensen E, Penha-Lopes G, Delefosse M, Valdemarsen T, Quintana CO, Banta GT (2012) What is bioturbation? The need for a precise definition for fauna in aquatic sciences. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 446:285–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kuhnert J, Veit-Köhler G, Büntzow M, Volkenborn N (2010) Sediment-mediated effects of lugworms on intertidal meiofauna. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 387(1-2):36–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kunihiro T, Miyazaki T, Kinoshita K, Satou A, Inoue A, Hama D, Tsutsumi H (2005) Microbial community dynamics in organically enriched sediment below fish net pen culture with artificially cultured colonies of the polychaete Capitella sp. I. Bull Soc Sea Water Sci 59:343–353Google Scholar
  39. Lalonde K, Mucci A, Ouellet A, Gélinas Y (2012) Preservation of organic matter in sediments promoted by iron. Nature 483(7388):198–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Laverock B, Gilbert JA, Tait K, Osborn AM, Widdicombe S (2011) Bioturbation: impact on the marine nitrogen cycle. Biochem Soc Trans 39:315–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lytle JS, Lytle TF, Ogle JT (1990) Polyunsaturated fatty acid profiles as a comparative tool in assessing maturation diets of Penaeus vannamei. Aquaculture 89(3-4):287–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Madsen SD, Forbes TL, Forbes VE (1997) Particle mixing by the polychaete Capitella species 1: coupling fate and effect of a particle-bound organic contaminant (fluoranthene) in a marine sediment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 147:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mandario MAE (2018) Addressing gaps in the culture of pathogen-free polychaetes as feed in shrimp hatcheries. Fish for the People 16:19-23Google Scholar
  44. Marques B, Calado R, Lillebø AI (2017) New species for the biomitigation of a super-intensive marine fish farm effluent: combined use of polychaete-assisted sand filters and halophyte aquaponics. Sci Total Environ 599:1922–1928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Marques B, Lillebø AI, Ricardo F, Nunes C, Coimbra MA, Calado R (2018) Adding value to ragworms (Hediste diversicolor) through the bioremediation of a super-intensive marine fish farm. Aquac Environ Interact 10:79–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mermillod-Blondin F (2011) The functional significance of bioturbation and biodeposition on biogeochemical processes at the water–sediment interface in freshwater and marine ecosystems. J N Am Benthol Soc 30(3):770–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Naessens E, Lavens P, Gomez L, Browdy C, McGovern-Hopkins K, Spencer A, Kawahigashi D, Sorgeloos P (1997) Maturation performance of Penaeus vannamei co-fed Artemia biomass preparations. Aquaculture 155:87–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nedwell DB (1982) The cycling of sulfur in marine and freshwater sediments. In: Nedwell DB, Brown CM (eds) Sediment microbiology. Academic Press, London, pp 73–106Google Scholar
  49. Needham SJ, Worden RH, McIlroy D (2005) Experimental production of clay rims by macrobiotic sediment ingestion and excretion processes. J Sediment Res 75(6):1028–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Norkko J, Reed DC, Timmermann K, Norkko A, Gustafsson BG, Bonsdorff E, Slomp CP, Carstensen J, Conley DJ (2012) A welcome can of worms? Hypoxia mitigation by an invasive species. Glob Chang Biol 18(2):422–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Oyo-Ita OE, Ekpo BO, Adie PA, Offem JO (2014) Organochlorine pesticides in sediment-dwelling animals from mangrove areas of the Calabar River, SE Nigeria. Environ Pollut 3(3):56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Palmer PJ (2010) Polychaete-assisted sand filters. Aquaculture 306(1-4):369–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peterson GS, Ankley GT, Leonard EN (1996) Effect of bioturbation on metal-sulfide oxidation in surficial freshwater sediments. Environ Toxicol Chem 15(12):2147–2155Google Scholar
  54. Philippines, Council for Agriculture and Resources Research (1980) Standard methods of analysis for soil, plant tissue, water and fertilizer. Philippine Council for Agriculture and Resources Research, Farm Resources and Systems Research Division, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. 194 ppGoogle Scholar
  55. Pombo A, Baptista T, Granada L, Ferreira SM, Gonçalves SC, Anjos C, Sá E, Chainho P, Cancela da Fonseca L, Fidalgo e Costa P, Costa JL (2018) Insight into aquaculture's potential of marine annelid worms and ecological concerns: a review. Rev Aquac.
  56. Preston NP, Jackson C, Thompson P, Austin M, Burford M, Rothlisberg PC (2000) Prawn farm effluent: composition, origin and treatment. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Australia. Final Report, Project, (95/162)Google Scholar
  57. Purschke G (2006) Morphology, molecules, evolution and phylogeny in polychaeta and related taxa (Vol. 179). Springer Science & Business MediaGoogle Scholar
  58. Quintana CO, Hansen T, Delefosse M, Banta G, Kristensen E (2011) Burrow ventilation and associated porewater irrigation by the polychaete Marenzelleria viridis. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 397(2):179–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Read P, Fernandes T (2003) Management of environmental impacts of marine aquaculture in Europe. Aquaculture 226(1-4):139–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rosenberg R (2001) Marine benthic faunal successional stages and related sedimentary activity. Sci Mar 65(S2):107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ross LG, Telfer TC, Falconer L, Soto D, Aguilar-Manjarrez J, Asmah R, Corner R (2013) Carrying capacities and site selection within the ecosystem approach to aquaculture. Site selection and carrying capacities for inland and coastal aquaculture, 19Google Scholar
  62. San Diego-McGlone ML, Azanza RV, Villanoy CL, Jacinto GS (2008) Eutrophic waters, algal bloom and fish kill in fish farming areas in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines. Mar Pollut Bull 57(6):295–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Santander SM, San D-M, Glone ML, Reichardt W (2008) Indicators of diminished organic matter degradation potential of polychaete burrows in Philippine mariculture areas. Philipp Agric Sci 91(3):295–300Google Scholar
  64. Schippers A, Jørgensen BB (2002) Biogeochemistry of pyrite and iron sulfide oxidation in marine sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 66(1):85–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Simpson SL, Ward D, Strom D, Jolley DF (2012) Oxidation of acid-volatile sulfide in surface sediments increases the release and toxicity of copper to the benthic amphipod Melita plumulosa. Chemosphere 88(8):953–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Singh VP, Poernomo AT (1984) Acid sulfate soils and their management for brackish water fishponds. In: Advances in milkfish biology and culture. Paper presented at the 2nd international milkfish aquaculture conference, Island Publication House in association with the Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center and the International Development Research Centre, Iloilo City, PhilippinesGoogle Scholar
  67. Soil and Plant Analysis Council, Inc. (2000) Soil analysis: handbook of reference methods. CRC Pres. 247 p.Google Scholar
  68. Soil and Water Analysis Manual (n.d.) Centralized Analytical Laboratory, SEAFDEC/AQD, Tigbauan, IloiloGoogle Scholar
  69. Soil Science Division Staff (2017) Soil Survey Manual. USDA Handbook No. 18. US Government Printing Office, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  70. Soto D (2009) Integrated mariculture: a global review. FAO fisheries and aquaculture technical paper, 529. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  71. Stewart NT, Boardman GD, Helfrich LA (2006) Treatment of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) raceway effluent using baffled sedimentation and artificial substrates. Aquac Eng 35(2):166–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Thamdrup B, Fossing H, Jørgensen BB (1994) Manganese, iron and sulfur cycling in a coastal marine sediment, Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58(23):5115–5129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Timur P, bij de Vaate A (2017) Trophic index and efficiency. Encyclopedia of Ecology (Second Edition) 495-502. Retrieved from
  74. Tsutsumi H, Montani S, Kobe H (2002) Bioremediation of organic matter loaded on the sediment in outdoor pools with a polychaete, Capitella sp. 1. Fish Sci 68:613–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tucker CS, Hargreaves JA (2008) Environmental best management practices for aquaculture. Wiley-Blackwell, AmesCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Volkenborn N, Polerecky L, Wethey DS, Woodin SA (2010) Oscillatory porewater bioadvection in marine sediments induced by hydraulic activities of Arenicola marina. Limnol Oceanogr 55(3):1231–1247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wohlgemuth SE, Taylor AC, Grieshaber MK (2000) Ventilatory and metabolic responses to hypoxia and sulphide in the lugworm Arenicola marina (L.). J Exp Biol 203(20):3177–3188Google Scholar
  78. Woulds C, Middelburg JJ, Cowie GL (2012) Alteration of organic matter during infaunal polychaete gut passage and links to sediment organic geochemistry. Part I: Amino acids. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 77:396–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Yang Y, Liu M, Xu S, Hou L, Ou D, Liu H, Hofmann T (2006) HCHs and DDTs in sediment-dwelling animals from the Yangtze Estuary, China. Chemosphere 62(3):381–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Anne E. Mandario
    • 1
    • 2
  • Veronica R. Alava
    • 1
  • Nathaniel C. Añasco
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Aquaculture DepartmentSoutheast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC/AQD)IloiloPhilippines
  2. 2.Marine Pollution and Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanology, College of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesUniversity of the Philippines Visayas (UPV)IloiloPhilippines

Personalised recommendations