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    Sublethal exposure study of lead (Pb) on black clams to provide early warning information on marine pollution

    Sublethal exposure study of lead (Pb) on black clams to provide early warning information on marine pollution 

    New Delhi. Black clam is one of the most important clam species contributing to more than 70% of clam fisheries in India. A research team in India has concluded that black clams (Villorita cyprinoides) can provide potential early warning information on marine pollution that can help environmental scientists to monitor and manage the overall fitness of the marine environment.

    In this integrated study involving observation of critical bio-lethal parameters coupled with a bioassay of the black clams, sensitive information could be obtained by the scientists. Results of the study revealed that information on sublethal exposure of metal lead (Pb) and its toxic effects on the black clam is an important precursor to assess pollution in a marine environment. The studyalso helped them to make a reliable risk assessment of other aquatic lives for enforcing stringent water quality management practices.

    The study showed that there was significantly higher pollution of heavy metals in the northern parts of the estuarine system water sampleof the southwest coast of Indiaduring pre-monsoon, followed by monsoon and post-monsoon, except for lead andnickel. The research revealed that the alterations in antioxidant enzyme activities inblackclamsmayleadtobiochemicalsenescence. The utilityofthe study of cellular,physiological, biochemical, and histopathological biomarker responses was established in the study that can be used tomonitoraqueous contaminationofheavymetal.

    The study found a significant increase in the concentration of leads (Pb) in thebodies of clams after chronic exposure. Even a small concentration oflead in theestuary can lead to many-fold increase in its concentration in black clams which may damage the geneticmaterials, proteins and lipid and lead to health risks to other marine organisms includinghumans consuming them.

    Asperresearchers,metalconcentrationwasfound to behigherinthesedimentduring pre-monsoonandpost-monsoonperiods,exceptforleadandnickelintheestuary which might be due to the weaker flushingleading to the entrapment of metals inthe sediment. Overalongerperiod,theycan therefore help prevent the spread of harmful metal sediments into waterways used by localcommunities.A reduced discharge from the Periyar River was observed during the study, which may also lead to theincreasingconcentrationofmetalsduringpre-monsoon in the sediment.

    The researchers of this study affiliated with the National Center for Coastal Research (NCCR),Chennai and Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kerala, found adirectcorrelationbetweenthedegreeofindustrializationandcontamination of the CochinEstuarineSystem (CES) ofIndia'ssouthwestcoastbyheavymetalsleading to metabolicstressin blackclams. 

    Black clam (Villorita cyprinoides) is one of the most important clam species contributing to more than 70% of clam fisheries in India.

    In this study, researchersusedblackclamsVilloritacyprinoidestransplanted from relatively clean waters of the CochinEstuarineSystem to assess lead (Pb) metal concentration at acoastal area of Cochinon the southwest coast of India. It is an industrially active zone along with CES on the bank of the Periyar river which releases nearly 0.105 million m3/day ofeffluentsaffecting aquaticorganismsandecosystems. TheresearchfindingsarepublishedinthejournalofEnvironmentalScience andPollutionResearch.

    Human health is threatened due to exposure to heavy metals like lead, cadmium,and mercury as these metals accumulate in the original food chain moving up throughhigher trophic levels with negative effects on marine resources. Therefore, researcherspropose that this evidence should be used as an input for public policy decisions to reduce theeffects ofhumanactivitiesoncoastalandmarineecosystems.

    LedbyS. Bijoy Nandan,theresearchteamcomprisedofK.V. Neethu, N.D. DonXavier, P.R. Jayachandran, P.R Anu, and A.M Midhun of Department of MarineBiology, Microbiology & Biochemistry, School of Marine Sciences, CUSAT, Cochin,D. Mohan, S.R.Marigoudar NCCR, MinistryofEarth Sciences, Chennai.

    INA NEWS(Initiate News Agency)

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