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An active biomonitoring study was carried out on the Algerian west coast using wild reference mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) sampled from the Kristel (K) site and transplanted in net cages during one month (between May and June 2007) to Oran Harbour (OH) and Mostaganem Harbour (MH), areas characterised by high levels of urban and industrial pollution. The biological response of the mussels was evaluated by their condition index and the use of a general stress biomarker (evaluation of lysosomal membrane stability: the neutral red retention time (NRRT) method), a genotoxic effects biomarker (determination of micronuclei (MN) frequency) and a neurotoxic effects biomarker (determination of the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) concentration). Compared to the K reference specimens, OH and MH caged mussels presented a significant decrease of NRRT in lysosomal haemocytes (56.45 š 26.48 min and 67.25 š 22.77 min, respectively) (78 š 16.97 min for K mussels), an MN frequency respectively 7.3 and 9 times higher in the haemocytes and the gill cells of the OH caged mussels, and 7.2 and 6.4 times higher in the two tissues of the MH caged mussels. Significant inhibition of AChE activity was noted in the gills (16.93 š 3.1 nmol min-1 mg prot-1) and the digestive gland (7.69 š 1.79 nmol min-1 mg prot-1) of the OH mussels, but only in the gills (23.21 š 5.94 nmol min-1 mg prot-1) of the MH mussels, compared to the organs of the K control specimens (35.9 š 6.4 nmol min-1 mg prot-1 in the gills and 11.17 š 0.49 nmol min-1 mg prot-1 in the digestive gland). This study reflects the interest in such in situ biomonitoring assays and the utility of these biomarkers for assessing the effects of pollution in the Algerian coastal marine environment.
The Algerian west coast is the prime recipient of several forms of pollution; hence, the necessity for an impact assessment of this coastal pollution using a suite of recommended marine biomarkers, including lysosomal membrane stability in living cells by the Neutral Red Retention Time (NRRT) method, the evaluation of micronucleus (MN) frequency, and the determination of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis, sampled from the large, polluted Oran Harbour (OH) and the Maârouf (Mrf) marine mussel farm between July 2005 and April 2006. The difference in the variations of the annual physical parameters between OH and Mrf corresponds to the influence of the domestic and industrial sewage discharged by the city of Oran. The biological data of the mussels (condition index, protein content) recorded at both sites were related to their natural reproductive cycle. This indicated that intrinsic variation between the sites due to different mussel development phases was minimal. The variation in the AChE activity of some organs of OH and Mrf mussels, with minimal inhibition in July and a higher NRRT recorded in the granular haemocytes in the Mrf than in the OH mussels during the autumn and spring, depends on the quality of the biotope and on generic stress factors. Moreover, the variation in MN frequency, in general reflecting a non-significant seasonal and spatial genotoxic effect of the contamination at the two sampling sites, requires further investigations regarding biotic and abiotic variations.
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