• A test battery approach to the ecotoxicological evaluation of cadmium and copper employing a battery of marine bioassays

      Macken, A; Giltrap, M; Ryall, K; Foley, B; McGovern, E; McHugh, B; Davoren, M (Springer, 2009)
      Heavy metals are ubiquitous contaminants of the marine environment and can accumulate and persist in sediments. The toxicity of metal contaminants in sediments to organisms is dependent on the bioavailability of the metals in both the water and sediment phases and the sensitivity of the organism to the metal exposure. This study investigated the effects of two metal contaminants of concern (CdCl2 and CuCl2) on a battery of marine bioassays employed for sediment assessment. Cadmium, a known carcinogen and widespread marine pollutant, was found to be the least toxic of the two assayed metals in all in vivo tests. However CdCl2 was found to be more toxic to the fish cell lines PLHC-1 and RTG-2 than CuCl2. Tisbe battagliai was the most sensitive species to both metals and the Microtox® and cell lines were the least sensitive (cadmium was found to be three orders of magnitude less toxic to Vibrio fischeri than to T. battagliai). The sensitivity of Tetraselmis suecica to the two metals varied greatly. Marine microalgae are among the organisms that can tolerate higher levels of cadmium. This hypothesis is demonstrated in this study where it was not possible to derive an EC50 value for CdCl2 and the marine prasinophyte, T. suecica. Conversely, CuCl2 was observed to be highly toxic to the marine alga, EC50 of 1.19 mg l-1. The genotoxic effect of Cu on the marine phytoplankton was evaluated using the Comet assay. Copper concentrations ranging from 0.25 to 2.50 mg l-1 were used to evaluate the effects. DNA damage was measured as percent number of comets and normal cells. There was no significant DNA damage observed at any concentration of CuCl2 tested and no correlation with growth inhibition and genetic damage was found.