Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology

Quantitative changes in digestive gland cells and oocytes of Helix aspersa, as biomarkers of copper oxychloride exposure under field conditions.

PMID 19434358


This study investigated the effects of accumulated copper, on digestive epithelium height and percentage area, and on oocyte numbers of the snail Helix aspersa, in a vineyard where copper oxychloride is sprayed. The ultimate aim was to determine the usefulness of these cellular responses as biomarkers. Results showed that snails collected 2 months after fungicide application, had a significantly lower mean digestive epithelium height and percentage area, as well as significantly fewer oocytes per 1 mm(2) of ovotestis, compared to snails collected only 1 week after fungicide application and those from a control vineyard. It was concluded that these cellular responses are clear, measurable responses to copper oxychloride exposure and copper accumulation. However, they do not provide an early warning of copper exposure, which impacts on their usefulness as biomarkers.