Biochemical and physiological responses of two clam species to Triclosan combined with climate change scenario


• Triclosan bioaccumulation was enhanced under forecasted climate change conditions.

• Triclosan strongly affected clams’ antioxidant defences.

• Cellular damage was prevented by enzymatic and behaviour defence mechanisms.

• Greater response of the Manila clam to TCS exposure combined with climate change scenario.


Ocean acidification and warming are among the man-induced factors that most likely impact aquatic wildlife worldwide. Besides effects caused by temperature rise and lowered pH conditions, chemicals of current use can also adversely affect aquatic organisms. Both climate change and emerging pollutants, including toxic impacts in marine invertebrates, have been investigated in recent years. However, less information is available on the combined effects of these physical and chemical stressors that, in nature, occur simultaneously. Thus, this study contrasts the effects caused by the antimicrobial agent and plastic additive, Triclosan (TCS) in the related clams Ruditapes philippinarum (invasive) and Ruditapes decussatus (native) and evaluates if the impacts are influenced by combined temperature and pH modifications. Organisms were acclimated for 30 days at two conditions (control: 17 °C; pH 8.1 and climate change scenario: 20 °C, pH 7.7) in the absence of the drug (experimental period I) followed by a 7 days exposure under the same water physical parameters but either in absence (unexposed) or presence of TCS at 1 μg/L (experimental period II). Biochemical responses covering metabolic, oxidative defences and damage-related biomarkers were contrasted in clams at the end of experimental period II. The overall picture showed a well-marked antioxidant activation and higher TCS bioaccumulation of the drug under the forecasted climate scenario despite a reduction on respiration rate and metabolism in the exposed clams. Since clams are highly consumed shellfish, the consequences for higher tissue bioaccumulation of anthropogenic chemicals to final consumers should be alerted not only at present conditions but more significantly under predicted climatic conditions for humans but also for other components of the marine trophic chain.

Costa S., Coppola F., Pretti C., Intorre L., Meucci V., Soares A. M. V. M., Solé M. & Freitas R., in press. Biochemical and physiological responses of two clam species to Triclosan combined with climate change scenario. Science of The Total Environment. Article (subscription required).

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