Biomarkers in the Teleost Fish Diplodus puntazzo: a Study on Animals from an Unpolluted Environment (Brackish Water Pond Acquatina-Lecce, Italy)

  • M. E. Giordano
  • M. G. Lionetto
  • S. Vilella
  • T. Schettino


In the present work metallothioneins, EROD and acetylcholinesterase, biomarkers specific for different classes of pollutants (heavy metals, organic pollutants and organophosphate and carbamate pesticides respectively) were studied in the teleost fish, Diplodus puntazzo, an important species for aquaculture and fishery in the juvenile stage held in the brackish water pond of Acquatina (Lecce-Italy).

The EROD activity was determined on liver by using the method recommended by UNEP (1997), acetylcholinesterase activity was measured on muscle by the Ellman’s method (1961), while metallothioneins were measured on liver, intestine, gills and kidney by using the method introduced by Viarengo et al. (1997) on mussels. This last method, slightly modified to be applied to the fish tissue samples, allows us to clearly detect a significant increase of the metallothionein content in the liver, intestine, gills and kidney of Diplodus puntazzo exposed to sublethal concentrations of cadmium (220 μg/l for a week).

Chemical analysis excluded the presence of heavy metals and pesticides either in the Acquatina pond (in water and sediments) or in the tissues of the fish. This allowed us to attribute the monthly variations found in the biomarkers to physiological and pollutant independent variations. We studied the relation between each of the three biomarkers and the water temperature and somatic indices (body wet weight and body length) with the aim to provide basal information for a correct evaluation of the status of health of fish in coastal sea areas exposed to a higher anthropic impact and in areas used for aquaculture.


Heavy Metal EROD Activity Acetylcholinesterase Activity Somatic Index Fish Tissue Sample 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. E. Giordano
    • 1
  • M. G. Lionetto
    • 1
  • S. Vilella
    • 2
  • T. Schettino
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio di Fisiologia Generale e Ambientale eItaly
  2. 2.Laboratorio di Fisiologia Comparata, Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità di LecceLecceItaly

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