MEPS 233:131-142 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps233131

Relationships between metal bioaccumulation and metallothionein levels in larvae of Mytilus galloprovincialis exposed to contaminated estuarine sediment elutriate

Alain Geffard1,*, Olivier Geffard2, Edouard His2, Jean-Claude Amiard1

1Service d¹Ecotoxicologie, SMAB, ISOMer, GDR CNRS 1117, Université de Nantes, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France
2IFREMER, Quai du Commandant Silhouette, 33120 Arcachon, France

ABSTRACT: The bioavailability of Cd, Cu and Zn from a metal-contaminated sediment was studied using Mytilus galloprovincialis embryos and larvae exposed to sediment elutriates. The elutriate concentrations tested were always lower than the threshold at which abnormal larval development appears. The Cd, Cu and Zn contents of the sediment, of the elutriate and of the larvae, as well as the larval growth, the condition index (CI), and the induction of metallothionein (MT) in the larvae were measured. The CI was only affected after 96 h of exposure, principally at the highest elutriate concentration (25%, corresponding to 0.1435 µg Cd l-1 and 14 µg Zn l-1). Cd, Cu and Zn bioaccumulation was observed (48 and 96 h), in whole larvae as well as in the cytosolic fraction of their tissues. For the individual treatments (controls or different degrees of exposure), the lowest metal concentrations were observed in larvae after 96 h exposure, indicating biological dilution. Metallothionein induction in larvae was observed after 96 h exposure at the lowest elutriate concentrations tested, and was always strongly correlated with increasing metal contents in the cytosolic fraction. These relationships were significant for all 3 metals studied either individually or combined. The results indicate that these 3 metals are bioavailable to M. galloprovincialis larvae and that MT induction constitutes a more sensitive indicator of heavy metal pollution than embryotoxicity or larval growth experiments.

KEY WORDS: Sediment elutriate · Mytilus galloprovincialis larvae · Metal bioaccumulation · Metallothionein

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