Metallothionein as an indicator of water quality: assessment of the bioavailability of cadmium, copper, mercury and zinc in aquatic animals at the cellular level

George, S.G. and Langston, W.J. (1994) Metallothionein as an indicator of water quality: assessment of the bioavailability of cadmium, copper, mercury and zinc in aquatic animals at the cellular level. In: Sutcliffe, D.W. (ed.) Water quality & stress indicators in marine and freshwater systems: linking levels of organisation. Ambleside, UK, Freshwater Biological Association, pp. 138-153. (FBA Special Publications,4)

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Abstract

The study of metallothioneins (MTs) has greatly improved our understanding of body burdens, metal storage and detoxification in aquatic organisms subjected to contamination by the toxic heavy metals, Cd, Cu, Hg and Zn. These studies have shown that in certain organisms MT status can be used to assess impact of these metals at the cellular level and, whilst validation is currently limited to a few examples, this stress response may be linked to higher levels of organisation, thus indicating its potential for environmental quality assessment. Molluscs, such as Mytilus spp., and several commonly occurring teleost species, are the most promising of the indicator species tested. Natural variability of MT levels caused by the organism's size, condition, age, position in the sexual cycle, temperature and various stressors, can lead to difficulties in interpretation of field data as a definitive response-indicator of metal contamination unless a critical appraisal of these variables is available. From laboratory and field studies these data are almost complete for teleost fish. Whilst for molluscs much of this information is lacking, when suitable controls are utilised and MT measurements are combined with observations of metal partitioning, current studies indicate that they are nevertheless a powerful tool in the interpretation of impact, and may prove useful in water quality assessment.

Item Type: Book Section
Title: Metallothionein as an indicator of water quality: assessment of the bioavailability of cadmium, copper, mercury and zinc in aquatic animals at the cellular level
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
George, S.G.
Langston, W.J.
Title of Book: Water quality & stress indicators in marine and freshwater systems: linking levels of organisation
Editors:
EditorsEmail
Sutcliffe, D.W.
Refereed: No
Series Name: FBA Special Publications
Number: 4
Page Range: pp. 138-153
Date: 1994
Publisher: Freshwater Biological Association
Place of Publication: Ambleside, UK
ISBN: 0-900386-53-3
Issuing Agency: Freshwater Biological Association
Uncontrolled Keywords: Water quality; Cadmium; Copper; Mercury; Zinc; Aquatic animals; Cytology; Metallothioneins; Environmental monitoring; Indicators; Scotland
Subjects: Environment
Oceanography
Pollution
Item ID: 5313
Depositing User: Hardy B Schwamm
Date Deposited: 11 May 2011 11:56
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 15:06
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/5313

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