Merck

Deformities of chironomid larvae and heavy metal pollution: from laboratory to field studies.

Chemosphere (2014-07-23)
A Di Veroli, F Santoro, M Pallottini, R Selvaggi, F Scardazza, D Cappelletti, E Goretti
RESUMEN

Mouthpart deformities of Chironomus riparius larvae (Diptera) have been investigated to evaluate the toxic effects of contamination by heavy metals in the Genna Stream (Central Italy), situated in an area subjected to intensive swine farms (40000 heads). The livestock farming (fertirrigation) contributes to metal pollution of the Genna Stream with an increase of copper, zinc, cadmium, chromium and nickel in the sediments of the downstream stations. The incidence of mentum deformities was very high at all sampling stations, about 56%. The highest values of deformities were found in the intermediate river reach (St. 3: 65%) and in March (66%), mainly due to an increase in severe deformities. The high incidence of severe deformities (30%) is attributed to the high pollution level by heavy metals in the sediments, in particular to copper and zinc, which showed the highest average value at St. 3 and in March. This field study reflected the relationships between sediment metal concentrations and chironomid mouthpart deformities, previously observed in laboratory tests, and highlighted these deformities as toxicity endpoints. This feature paves the way for their use as an effective tool in freshwater bioassessment monitoring programs to evaluate the toxic effects of metal contamination in freshwater ecosystems.

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