Genotoxicity biomarkers and acetylcholinesterase activity in natural populations of Mytilus galloprovincialis along a pollution gradient in the Gulf of Oristano (Sardinia, western Mediterranean)

P. Magni, G. De Falco, C. Falugi, M. Franzoni, M. Monteverde, E. Perrone, M. Sgro, C. Bolognesi

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A year-round biomonitoring study on blue mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was carried out in 4 selected sites along the Gulf of Oristano (Sardinia, Italy): a commercial port (Port), the outlet of the S'Ena Arrubia and Marceddì lagoons (in the catchment area of intensive agricultural and diary activities, and abandoned mining), and a reference site (North). Heavy metal concentrations in sediments from Marceddì were 2-3 to 10-20 times higher in Pb, Cd and Zn, respectively, than those found at North and S'Ena Arrubia. Higher values (P <0.05) of micronuclei frequency were detected in mussels from Marceddì and Port compared to those detected in mussels from North and S'Ena Arrubia. DNA damage in animals from North was significantly lower than that at the other sites. Results of acetylcholinesterase inhibition consistently showed the strongest effects in mussels from Port and Marceddì. Our results suggest that these biomarkers can be used in coastal marine biomonitoring as early signals of exposure and adverse effects along a pollution gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006



  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Alkaline elution
  • Biomonitoring
  • DNA damage
  • Heavy metals
  • Micronucleus test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution

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