Toxicity and the fractional distribution of trace metals accumulated from contaminated sediments by the clam Scrobicularia plana exposed in the laboratory and the field
The relationship between the subcellular distribution of accumulated toxic metals into five operational fractions (subsequently combined into presumed detoxified and non-detoxified components) and toxicity in the clam Scrobicularia plana was investigated under different laboratory exposures. Clams were exposed to metal contaminated media (water and diet) and analysed for the partitioning of accumulated As, Cu and Zn into subcellular fractions. In general, metallothionein-like proteins, metal-rich granules and cellular debris in different proportions acted as main storage sites of accumulated metals in the clam soft tissues for these three metals. No significant differences were noted in the accumulation rates of As, Cu and Zn of groups of individuals with or without apparent signs of toxicity after up to 30 days of exposure to naturally contaminated sediment mixtures. There was, however, an increased proportional accumulation of Cu in the non-detoxified fraction with increased Cu accumulation rate in the clams, suggesting that the Cu uptake rate from contaminated sediments exceeded the combined rates of elimination and detoxification of Cu, with the subsequent likelihood for toxic effects in the clams.
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