Copper effects on biomarkers associated with photosynthesis, oxidative status and calcification in the Brazilian coral Mussismilia harttii (Scleractinia, Mussidae)
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Seawater contamination with metals, such as copper (Cu), is a notable local impact threatening coral reefs. Cu effects on biomarkers associated with photosynthesis, oxidative status and calcification were evaluated in the Brazilian coral Mussismilia harttii using a marine mesocosm facility. Polyps were kept under control conditions (1.9 μg L-1 Cu) or exposed to dissolved Cu (3.0, 4.8, and 6.7 μg L-1) for 12 days. Photochemical efficiency of the photosystem II of symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) was measured and polyps were analyzed for antioxidant capacity, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and carbonic anhydrase Ca-ATPase, Mg-ATPase and (Ca,Mg)-ATPase activities after 12 days. Results highlighted the effects of Cu exposure, leading corals to an oxidative stress condition [increased total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and DNA damage] and a possible reduced calcification ability [decreased (Ca,Mg)-ATPase activity]. Therefore, biomarkers associated with oxidative status (TAC and DNA damage) and calcification [(Ca, Mg)-ATPase] are indicated as good predictors of corals health.
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