Use of biochemical markers to quantify the toxicological effects of metals on the fish Sciades herzbergii: potential use to assess the environmental status of Amazon estuaries

Abstract

Enzymatic biomarkers, especially oxidative-stress enzymes, are useful for assessing the status of aquatic environments. The present study used biochemical markers determined in nervous, gill, and liver tissues of Sciades herzbergii, concomitantly with analyses of trace metals in the tissues and bottom sediment, to evaluate environmental quality in Amazon estuaries. The study was conducted from March 2014 to February 2016 in two areas: Caeté estuary in Bragança, state of Pará, which is relatively unimpacted; and São Marcos Bay, next to a harbor in São Luís, state of Maranhão. In the laboratory, the fish were weighed (g) and measured (cm). Fragments of the gills, the brain, and the liver were biochemically analyzed, and the metal contents in the brain, the liver, and the muscle tissues were determined. Turbidity was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in São Marcos than in Bragança. Specimens of S. herzbergii were smaller in São Marcos, and aluminum, iron, nickel, copper, cadmium, and mercury levels were higher in bottom sediment (p < 0.05) collected at this location. Fish from São Marcos contained significantly higher (p < 0.05) concentrations of aluminum, iron, and cadmium in the muscle tissue than fish from Bragança. In addition, fish from São Marcos had significantly higher concentrations of nickel in both the nervous and hepatic tissues. Only fish from São Marcos contained measurable concentrations of mercury in the liver and muscle. Fish from Bragança had copper concentrations in the liver significantly different from those captured at São Marcos (p < 0.05). The activities of gill glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) (F = 6.62; df = 1, 16; p < 0.05) and liver CAT (F = 10.22; df = 1, 16; p < 0.05) were higher in fish from São Marcos. However, ChE in brain tissues and lipid peroxidation (LPO) in the gills and liver did not differ significantly between fish from both areas. The physico-chemical conditions of the water and the concentrations of metals found in sediment and biological tissues, together with the biochemical responses of S. herzbergii in the study areas, indicate that this species is still tolerant to adverse environmental conditions, but the presence of metals is a risk to the health of fish, mainly to fish from São Marcos, especially if chronically exposed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank are the REDE VALE/FAPESPA ICAAF No. 02/2012 and the Programa de Treinamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior (CAPES). Bruno Nunes acknowledges Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for research contracts under the program “Investigador FCT” (IF/01744/2013, respectively), co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Program (National Strategic Reference Framework 2007–2013) and the European Social Fund (EU).

Funding

Bruno Nunes is hired by “ECO-R-pharmplast - Ecotoxicity of realistic combinations of pharmaceutical drugs and microplastics in marine ecosystems”, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT (reference POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029203). This research was financially supported by CESAM (UIDB/50017/2020+UIDP/50017/2020), by FCT/MCTES through national funds (PIDDAC), and by the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020.

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Nunes, B., Paixão, L., Nunes, Z. et al. Use of biochemical markers to quantify the toxicological effects of metals on the fish Sciades herzbergii: potential use to assess the environmental status of Amazon estuaries. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-09362-3

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Keywords

  • Metals
  • Oxidative stress
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Catfish
  • Amazon estuaries