Posts Tagged 'toxicants'

Nano-TiO2 impairs digestive enzyme activities of marine mussels under ocean acidification

• Effects of OA and nano-TiO2 on the digestive enzyme activity of mussels were studied.

• The Seven-day recovery was not sufficient for digestive enzymes to fully recover.

• Nano-TiO2 showed greater negative effects compared with low pH.

• Significant interactions between low pH and nano-TiO2 occurred.

With the development of nanotechnology and increased nanomaterial application, TiO2 nanoparticles have been released into the aquatic environment, causing potential ecotoxicological effects on aquatic organisms. Ocean acidification caused by anthropogenic CO2 is one of the most common environmental stressors, occurring simultaneously with marine contaminants, e.g., nanoparticles. Marine bivalves can accumulate nanoparticles and their digestive functions may be affected. In this study, we investigated the potential influences of TiO2 nanoparticles on the digestive enzyme activities of marine mussels Mytilus coruscus under ocean acidification. Mussels were exposed to combined treatments with three concentrations of nano-TiO2 (0, 2.5, 10 mg/L) and two pH values (8.1, 7.3) for 14 days, and then recovered under ambient condition (pH 8.1 and no nanoparticle) for 7 days. Samples were taken on the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 14th, and 21st day, the digestive enzymes, including amylase, pepsin, trypsin, lipase, and lysozyme, were investigated. Our results showed that nano-TiO2 and low pH had negative effects on amylase, pepsin, trypsin, and lipase, while both of them led an increase in lysozyme activity. Nano-TiO2 showed greater effects on the digestive capacity of M. coruscus rather than low pH. Moreover, a recovery period of 7 days was not sufficient for these enzymes to fully recover.

Continue reading ‘Nano-TiO2 impairs digestive enzyme activities of marine mussels under ocean acidification’

Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios


• Impact of different acidification scenarios by enrichment of CO2 on contaminants of emerging concern.

• Toxicity of a cocaine byproduct in different scenarios of ocean acidification.

• Combined effects of crack cocaine and low pH on reproduction of sea urchin.

• Hazards and risks of illicit drugs pose to public health and the environment.


This study has as main objective assessing the toxicity of crack-cocaine combined with different scenarios of ocean acidification on fertilization rate and embryo-larval development of Echinometra lucunter sea urchin. Effects on early life stages were assessed at five different concentrations (6,25 mg.L-1; 12,5 mg.L-1; 25 mg.L-1; 50 mg.L-1 and 100 mg.L-1) of crack-cocaine at four different pH values (8.5; 8.0; 7.5; 7.0). The pH values were achieved using two different methodologies: adding hydrochloric acid (HCl) and injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). The fertilization test did not show significant differences (p≤0.05) compared with control sample at pH values 8.5; 8.0 and 7.5. Results of embryo-larval assays showed a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of crack-cocaine at pH values tested (8.5, 8.0, 7.5) as 58.83, 10.67 and 11.58 mg/L-1 for HCl acidification and 58.83, 23.28 and 12.57 mg/L-1 for CO2 enrichment. At pH 7.0 the effects observed in fertilization rate and embryo development were associated with the acidification. This study is the first ecotoxicological assessment of illicit drug toxicity in aquatic ecosystems at different ocean acidification scenarios.

Continue reading ‘Harmful effects of cocaine byproduct in the reproduction of sea urchin in different ocean acidification scenarios’

Long-term acclimation to near-future ocean acidification has negligible effects on energetic attributes in a juvenile coral reef fish

Increased levels of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) drive ocean acidification and have been predicted to increase the energy use of marine fishes via physiological and behavioural mechanisms. This notion is based on a theoretical framework suggesting that detrimental effects on energy use are caused by plasma acid–base disruption in response to hypercapnic acidosis, potentially in combination with a malfunction of the gamma aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors in the brain. However, the existing empirical evidence testing these effects primarily stems from studies that exposed fish to elevated CO2 for a few days and measured a small number of traits. We investigated a range of energetic traits in juvenile spiny chromis damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) over 3 months of acclimation to projected end-of-century CO2 levels (~ 1000 µatm). Somatic growth and otolith size and shape were unaffected by the CO2 treatment across 3 months of development in comparison with control fish (~ 420 µatm). Swimming activity during behavioural assays was initially higher in the elevated CO2 group, but this effect dissipated within ~ 25 min following handling. The transient higher activity of fish under elevated CO2 was not associated with a detectable difference in the rate of oxygen uptake nor was it mediated by GABAA neurotransmitter interference because treatment with a GABAA antagonist (gabazine) did not abolish the CO2 treatment effect. These findings contrast with several short-term studies by suggesting that end-of-century levels of CO2 may have negligible direct effects on the energetics of at least some species of fish.

Continue reading ‘Long-term acclimation to near-future ocean acidification has negligible effects on energetic attributes in a juvenile coral reef fish’

Impacts of ocean acidification on carboxylated carbon nanotube effects induced in the clam species Ruditapes philippinarum

Although the increased production of nanoparticles (NPs) has raised extensive concerns about the potential toxic effects on aquatic organisms, as well as the increasing evidences which documented the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on the physiology and fitness of marine invertebrates, limited number of studies reported their combined toxic effects. For these reasons, in the present study, we investigated the physiological and biochemical responses of one of the most economically important bivalve species in the World, the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum, after the exposure to an environmnetally relevant concentration of carboxylated carbon nanotubes and predicted OA conditions. The results showed that the organisms were not only susceptible to NPs but also to seawater acidification. Different responses between low pH and NPs for most tested biomarkers were observed, both in terms of physiological (respiration rate) and biochemical responses (metabolic capacity, oxitative status and neurotoxicity). Acidified pH significantly decreased the respiration rate and metabolism and increased the energy reserves consumption. Moreover, increase of the oxidative damage was also detected under this condition confirming that the mechanism of enhanced toxicity in the organisms should be attributed to lower aggregation state with more suspended NPs in acidified seawater, indicating that seawater acidification significantly influenced the impact of the used NPs in the exposed organisms.

Continue reading ‘Impacts of ocean acidification on carboxylated carbon nanotube effects induced in the clam species Ruditapes philippinarum’

Seawater acidification and emerging contaminants: a dangerous marriage for haemocytes of marine bivalves


• Reduced pH and diclofenac affect haemocyte parameters in exposed mussels and clams.

• During exposure effects of pH persisted, those of diclofenac appeared later.

• Different patterns in haemocyte responses were observed in the two species.

• Interaction between pH and diclofenac was more evident in mussels.


The combined effects of seawater acidification and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac on haemocyte parameters of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the clam Ruditapes philippinarum were investigated for the first time. Animals were maintained for one week (T0) in natural pH condition (8.1) and two reduced pH values (pH −0.4 units and pH −0.7 units). Bivalves were then exposed for additional 14 days (T1 and T2) to the three experimental pH values in both the presence and absence of environmentally realistic concentrations of diclofenac (0.05 and 0.50 μg/L). To assess potential impairment in immunosurveillance, haemocyte parameters (total haemocyte count, haemocyte volume and diameter, Neutral Red uptake, haemocyte proliferation and lysozyme activity) were measured after 7, 14 and 21 days of exposure to differing pH value or pH/diclofenac combinations. In both species, pH affected the whole haemocyte data set at all sampling times, influencing most of the parameters measured at T0 and T1 in clams, and at T2 in mussels. Conversely, in both species diclofenac affected the overall haemocyte response at T2 only. However, in R. philippinarum a higher number of haemocyte parameters were significantly influenced even at T1. A significant interaction between pH and diclofenac was mainly evident in mussels, affecting haemocyte size and lysozyme activity at both T1 and T2. Overall, the results obtained demonstrated that the experimental conditions tested can alter markedly haemocyte parameters in marine bivalves.

Continue reading ‘Seawater acidification and emerging contaminants: a dangerous marriage for haemocytes of marine bivalves’

Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene


• Acidification is capable to unbalance transcription of biotransformation genes.

• CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2 and GSTΩ genes were upregulated at pH 6.5.

• Water acidification increases gill’s susceptibility to oxidative stress.

• PHE activated enzymatic antioxidant system after 96 h exposure.

• Oysters can protect against with oxidative stress.


Ocean acidification is a result of the decrease in the pH of in marine water, caused mainly by the increase in CO2 released in the atmosphere and its consequent dissolution in seawater. These changes can be dramatic for marine organisms especially for oysters Crassostrea gasar if other stressors such as xenobiotics are present. The effect of pH changes (6.5, 7.0 and 8.2) was assessed on the transcript levels of biotransformation [cytochromes P450 (CYP2AU1, CYP2-like2) and glutathione S-transferase (GSTΩ-like)] and antioxidant [superoxide dismutase (SOD-like), catalase (CAT-like) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx-like)] genes, as well as enzyme activities [superoxide dismutase, (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferases (GST) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH)] and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in the gills of Crassostrea gasar exposed to 100 μg·L−1 of phenanthrene (PHE) for 24 and 96 h. Likewise, the PHE burdens was evaluated in whole soft tissues of exposed oysters. The accumulation of PHE in oysters was independent of pH. However, acidification promoted a significant decrease in the transcript levels of some protective genes (24 h exposure: CYP2AU1 and GSTΩ-like –; 96 h exposure: CAT-like and GPx-like), which was not observed in the presence of PHE. Activities of GST, CAT and SOD enzymes increased in the oysters exposed to PHE at the control pH (8.2), but at a lower pH values, this activation was suppressed, and no changes were observed in the G6PDH activity and MDA levels. Biotransformation genes showed better responses after 24 h, and antioxidant-coding genes after 96 h, along with the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT), probably because biotransformation of PHE increases the generation of reactive oxygen species. The lack of change in MDA levels suggests that antioxidant modulation efficiently prevented oxidative stress. The effect of pH on the responses to PHE exposure should be taken into account before using these and any other genes as potential molecular biomarkers for PHE exposure.

Continue reading ‘Stress responses in Crassostrea gasar exposed to combined effects of acute pH changes and phenanthrene’

Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer


• Toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH.
• Complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis.
• Seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption.


We aimed to show how the predicted pH decrease in the ocean would alter the toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer of trace metal copper on seagrass ecosystems, on a short-term basis. Seagrass Zostera noltei was exposed to two pH levels (8.36 and 8.03) and three copper levels (nominal concentrations, <3, 30 and 300 μg Cu L−1) in a factorial design during 21 days, while Gammarus locusta amphipods were continuously fed with the treated seagrass leaves. We found that the toxicity and bioconcentration of copper in seagrasses were not affected by pH, yet complex copper-pH interactions were observed in the seagrass photosynthesis. We demostrated that seagrasses can act as a copper source in the food web via direct consumption by herbivores. Future research need to investigate the interactive effects on a long-term basis, and to include biochemical and molecular endpoints to provide additional insights to the complex phisiological interactions observed.

Continue reading ‘Interaction of short-term copper pollution and ocean acidification in seagrass ecosystems: toxicity, bioconcentration and dietary transfer’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book