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Fish and Shellfish Immunology
Vol. 37, No. 2, 2014; Page: 268 - 277

Health status and bioremediation capacity of wild freshwater mussels (Diplodon chilensis) exposed to sewage water pollution in a glacial Patagonian lake

Virginia A. Bianchi, Juan M. Castro, Iara Rocchetta, Flavia Bieczynski, Carlos M. Luquet

Laboratorio de Ecotoxicología Acuática, INIBIOMA (CONICET-UNCo) – CEAN, ruta provincial 61, km 3, 8371 Junín de los Andes, Neuquén, Argentina.


Deleterious effects on health and fitness are expected in mussels chronically exposed to sewage water pollution. Diplodon chilensis inhabiting SMA, an area affected by untreated and treated sewage water, shows increased hemocyte number and phagocytic activity, while bacteriolytic and phenoloxidase activities in plasma and reactive oxygen species production in hemocytes are lower compared to mussels from an unpolluted area (Yuco). There are not differences in cell viability, lysosomal membrane stability, lipid peroxidation and total oxygen scavenging capacity between SMA and Yuco mussels' hemocytes. Energetic reserves and digestive gland mass do not show differences between groups; although the condition factor is higher in SMA than in Yuco mussels. Gills of SMA mussels show an increase in mass and micronuclei frequency compared to those of Yuco. Mussels from both sites reduce bacterial loads in polluted water and sediments, improving their quality with similar feeding performance. These findings suggest that mussels exposed to sewage pollution modulate physiological responses by long-term exposure; although, gills are sensitive to these conditions and suffer chronic damage. Bioremediation potential found in D. chilensis widens the field of work for remediation of sewage bacterial pollution in water and sediments by filtering bivalves.

Keywords: Immune response; Oxidative balance; Bacterial pollution; Filtration rate; Clearance rate



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