Bioindicators in monitoring long term genotoxic impact of oil spill: Haven case study

Claudia Bolognesi, Cristina Balia, Rosa Maria Bertolotto, Elena Giordano, Paola Roggieri

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On 4/11/91, on board the supertanker Haven, which was anchored at 6 mi from Arenzano coast (Ligurian sea) an explosion occurred. The oilship carried 144,000 tons of Iranian Heavy crude oil: a large quantity burnt during the fire and the remaining part sank with the tanker. The Haven wreck lies on the sandy bottom at - 85 m depth in front of Arenzano. An assessment of the genotoxic effects in caged mussels by the evaluation of DNA single strand breaks and chromosomal damage, as micronuclei frequency, showed a severe effect in impacted sites compared to unpolluted area within few weeks after the accident. More than 10 yr later, a biomonitoring program was conducted on native and caged mollusks (mussels and oysters), and in fish samples (Boops boops, Mullus barbatus, and Uranoscopus scaber). Significant increase of genotoxic damage, mainly as micronuclei frequency was observed only in Mullus barbatus. Higher but not significant effect was detected in Uranoscopus scaber from the polluted sites, but only a negligible genotoxic damage was appreciable in a pelagic organism such as Boops boops. More than 10 yr after the Haven accident significant genotoxic effects are measurable at different extents in bioindicators with different habitat and feeding behavior. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 13th International Symposium on Pollutant Responses in Marine Organisms (Alessandria, Italy 6/19-23/2005).

Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Science(all)


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