Biomarker responses and accumulation of hazardous substances in mussels (Mytilus trossulus) transplanted along a pollution gradient close to an oil terminal in the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea).

Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Toxicology & pharmacology : CBP

PubMedID: 23041371

Turja R, Soirinsuo A, Budzinski H, Devier MH, Lehtonen KK. Biomarker responses and accumulation of hazardous substances in mussels (Mytilus trossulus) transplanted along a pollution gradient close to an oil terminal in the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea). Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013;157(1):80-92.
Baltic Sea blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) were used as sentinel organisms to detect the biological effects of chemical contamination in the low salinity environment. Mussels naturally adapted to a salinity of ca. 6.0 PSU were caged for 30 days at four sites along an assumed pollution gradient (salinity ca. 4.5 PSU) in the vicinity of Finland's largest oil refinery and harbor Kilpilahti in the Gulf of Finland. Tissue concentrations and accumulation rates of especially organic contaminants (PAHs, PCBs and organotins) were clearly elevated at the innermost coastal stations near the harbor area. Biological effects of contaminant exposure on caged mussels were evaluated by measuring a suite of biomarkers including catalase, glutathione S-transferase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione reductase, lipid peroxidation, acetylcholinesterase activity and lysosomal membrane stability. Mussels transplanted near the harbor area were able to elevate their antioxidant defense in response to environmental contamination. Reduced morphometric condition index and soft tissue growth rate together with increased lipid peroxidation and low lysosomal membrane stability were also observed at the most contaminated site. The results suggest that caging of M. trossulus for four weeks at lower salinity is a feasible method for the detection of environmental pollution also in low salinity areas of the Baltic Sea.