Evaluation of the lethal and sub-lethal toxicity and potential endocrine disrupting effect of nonylphenol on the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
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Nonylphenol (NP) is commonly found in surface waters nearby municipal wastewater treatment plants and was shown to have endocrine disrupting effects in aquatic organisms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the toxicity and potential endocrine disrupting effects of NP on the freshwater zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Toxicity assessment yielded LC(50) values of 3.68, 2.19 and 1.62 mg L(-1) after 15, 35 and 50 days of exposure, respectively. LC(10) values of 1.6, 1.11 and 0.68 mg L(-1) were respectively obtained for similar exposure periods. At concentrations >5 mg L(-1), mortality effects were significant, as were those relating to attachment and siphon extension (indicating filtration), both general indicators of health. Endocrine disruption effects were investigated after a prolonged exposure (112 d) to 5 and 500 microg L(-1) NP by measuring Vitellin (Vn)-like protein levels using the alkali-labile phosphate (ALP) assay and gel electrophoresis (GE). An increase in ALP levels was observed in both male and female mussels, although only marginal owing to a significant decrease in the mussels' health indicated by its condition, during the experiment. These levels, however, increased proportionally with NP concentration. Using solid phase thin-layer chromatography, we confirmed increased levels of the steroid cholesterol and evidence of NP uptake. Cholesterol levels in gonad tissue proved to be a more responsive biomarker of exposure to NP than levels of ALP. Further implications relating to the occurrence of endocrine disruption in the zebra mussel are discussed.
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