Gonçalves, J.M., Bebianno, M. J. 2023 Ecotoxicity of emerging contaminants in the reproductive organ of marine mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. Science of The Total Environment

Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) present a new threat to the marine environment, and it is vital to understand the interactions and possible toxicity of CEC mixtures once they reach the ocean. CECs—such as metal nanoparticles, nanoplastics, and pharmaceuticals—are groups of contaminants some of which have been individually evaluated, though their interactions as mixtures are still not fully understood. To ensure a healthy and prosperous future generation, successful reproduction is key: however, if hindered, population dynamics may be at danger leading to a negative impact on biodiversity. This study aimed to understand the effects of silver (20 nm nAg, 10 μg/L), polystyrene nanoparticles (50 nm nPS, 10 μg/L), and 5-fluorouracil (5FU, 10 ng/L) individually and as a mixture (10 μg/L of nPS + 10 μg/L of nAg +10 ng/L of 5FU) in the gonads of Mytilus galloprovincialis. A multibiomarker approach, namely the antioxidant defence system (ADS; superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidases, glutathione – S – transferases activities), and oxidative damage (OD; lipid peroxidation) were analysed in the gonads of mussels. All exposure treatments after 3 days led to an increase of enzymatic activity, followed by an inhibition after 14 and 21 days. Thus, ADS was overwhelmed due to the generation of ROS, resulting in OD, except for nPS exposed mussels. The OD in Mix exposed mussels increased exponentially by 57-fold. When CEC mixtures interact, they are potentially more hazardous than their individual components, posing a major threat to marine species. To understand synergistic and antagonistic interactions, a model was applied, and antagonistic interactions were observed in evaluated biomarkers at all time-points, apart from a synergistic interaction at day 3 relative to LPO. Results indicate that the effects observed in Mix-exposed mussel gonads are mainly due to the interaction of nAg and 5FU but not nPS.


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