Ultraviolet (UV) filters are present in a broad range of personal hygiene products, which may be transported via aquatic environments and domestic wastewaters due to inefficient treating station sewage removal and direct human contact. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential effects of a UV filter, in particular benzophenone-3 (BP3) (also known as oxybenzone) on the mussel species Mytilus galloprovincialis
. Mussels were exposed to this organic substance for 96 h in environmentally relevant concentrations (10, 100, and 1000 ng/L). After exposure, biomarkers related with the mussels’ metabolism and oxidative stress were evaluated. The results revealed significantly higher activity of electron transport system and energy reserves (glycogen and protein (PROT)) at the intermediate concentration of 100 ng/L, suggesting that at lower concentrations mussels’ metabolism was not activated due to low stress. Conversely, at the highest concentration (1000 ng/L), mussels were no longer able to continue to increase their metabolic activity. Higher metabolic capacity was accompanied by increased PROT content associated with increased enzyme production to activate their antioxidant system. Nevertheless, at the highest concentration, cellular damage occurred as a consequence of ineffective activation of antioxidant and biotransformation enzymes. The results of the present study address uncertainties that are fundamental to the environmental risk assessment and management of these economically important near-shore bivalves and other marine species. Although an acute exposure was performed, alterations observed indicate the negative impacts of BP3 towards marine bivalves, which could be enhanced after longer exposure periods or if mussels are simultaneously exposed to other stressors (e.g., other pollutants or climate change related factors). The present study may thus contribute to the definition of fundamental knowledge for the establishment of appropriate regulatory guidelines and practices that ensure the preservation and sustainability of biological resources, allowing for prediction and mitigation of the impacts from these compounds.
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