3 years ago

Behavioural and biochemical responses to metals tested alone or in mixture (Cd-Cu-Ni-Pb-Zn) in Gammarus fossarum: From a multi-biomarker approach to modelling metal mixture toxicity

Metals are usually present as mixtures at low concentrations in aquatic ecosystems. However, the toxicity and sub-lethal effects of metal mixtures on organisms are still poorly addressed in environmental risk assessment. Here we investigated the biochemical and behavioural responses of Gammarus fossarum to Cu, Cd, Ni, Pb and Zn tested individually or in mixture (M2X) at concentrations twice the levels of environmental quality standards (EQSs) from the European Water Framework Directive. The same metal mixture was also tested with concentrations equivalent to EQSs (M1X), thus in a regulatory context, as EQSs are proposed to protect aquatic biota. For each exposure condition, mortality, locomotion, respiration and enzymatic activities involved in digestive metabolism and moult were monitored over a 120h exposure period. Multi-metric variations were summarized by the integrated biomarker response index (IBR). Mono-metallic exposures shed light on biological alterations occurring at environmental exposure levels in gammarids and depending on the considered metal and gender. As regards mixtures, biomarkers were altered for both M2X and M1X. However, no additive or synergistic effect of metals was observed comparing to mono-metallic exposures. Indeed, bioaccumulation data highlighted competitive interactions between metals in M2X, decreasing subsequently their internalisation and toxicity. IBR values indicated that the health of gammarids was more impacted by M1X than M2X, because of reduced competitions and enhanced uptakes of metals for the mixture at lower, EQS-like concentrations. Models using bioconcentration data obtained from mono-metallic exposures generated successful predictions of global toxicity both for M1X and M2X. We conclude that sub-lethal effects of mixtures identified by the multi-biomarker approach can lead to disturbances in population dynamics of gammarids. Although IBR-based models offer promising lines of enquiry to predict metal mixture toxicity, further studies are needed to confirm their predictive quality on larger ranges of metallic combinations before their use in field conditions.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0166445X17303065

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