Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology

Comparison of bioaccumulation and biomarker responses in Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis after exposure to resuspended sediments.

PMID 22231661


The zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha is widely used as sentinel organism for the assessment of environmental contamination in freshwater environments. However, in the River Rhine (Germany), the D. polymorpha population is declining, whereas the closely related quagga mussel D. bugensis is found in high numbers at some sites. In the present laboratory study, D. polymorpha and D. bugensis were exposed to resuspended native sediments for ≤2 weeks. Wet sediments (<63 μm, 100 mg l(-1) dry weight) were used as surrogate suspended particulate matter to mimic one of the mussels' main uptake route for chemicals. The sediments were sampled in (1) the River Elbe in Dessau, a site known to be highly polluted with, e.g., organochlorine (OC) pesticides and (2) at a relatively unpolluted site in Havelberg in the River Havel, one of the Elbe's tributaries. Chemical analysis of persistent OC compounds (seven polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], DDT and its metabolites (DDX), hexachlorocylohexanes [HCHs], and hexachlorobenzene [HCB]) in soft tissue of mussels showed significantly greater values of PCBs 101, 118, 153, 138, 180, the sum of seven PCBs, and p,p'-DDD in D. bugensis compared with D. polymorpha. Fourteen days of exposure to Dessau sediment increased the concentration of p,p'-DDE and p,p'-DDD, as well as the sum of DDX, in both species compared with Havelberg sediment. Interspecific differences were less pronounced when regarding chemical concentrations with lipid content instead of dry-weight of tissue because D. bugensis had greater levels of total lipid than D. polymorpha. DNA damage in gills, as measured with the comet assay, was greater in D. bugensis compared with D. polymorpha. Simultaneously, the content of heat-shock protein (hsp70) in gills was greater in D. polymorpha than in D. bugensis. DNA damage and hsp70 were not induced by exposure time or sediment type. This study shows that D. bugensis and D. polymorpha may differ in their bioaccumulation potential of OC pesticides as well as their levels of DNA damage and hsp70. Therefore, more investigations are needed before quagga mussel can be used as alternative test organism for the zebra mussel.