Special Issue "Biomarkers: An Integrative Useful Tool for Ecotoxicolgy and Biomonitoring"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Laura Guimarães
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Portugal
Interests: molecular responses of animals to contaminants; methods of diagnose of environmental health; integrated effects-based monitoring of aquatic systems
Dr. Carlos Gravato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Sciences & CESAM – University of Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: oxidative stress; cellular energy allocation; detoxification processes; behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of biomarkers in ecotoxicology and biomonitoring has been rapidly accelerating since the 90s due to their many advantages, including in allowing for expeditious determination. This, however, has resulted in frequent misleading interpretations, mostly due to i) their application without any underlying effects-based monitoring framework; ii) a lack of harmonized protocols and quality assurance methods to support comparability of results; and iii) the use of too many new indicator species for which no baseline information is available. The wealth of information that is often generated when using biomarkers is also often neglected due to the simplistic data analysis and interpretation that is applied, too simplistic to  overcome disadvantages and generate a meaningful conclusion. Nevertheless, this is not taken into account in the improvement of our discussion about their application toward the early diagnosis of environmental health or in risk assessment. More recently, within the scope of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, efforts have been made to discuss the meaning of each biomarker and to show which can really improve our knowledge and be used as complementary tools for ecotoxicology and biomonitoring. This exercise needs, however, to be extended not only to freshwater systems, but to all studies concerning biomarkers. Thus, this Special Issue aims to gather the latest research that contributes toward answering the following questions: (1) How can we complement toxicity data with valuable information acquired from biomarker analysis?; (2) How can different biological models deal with stressful conditions as a function of their physiological status?; (3) What is the ecological relevance of biomarkers and their association with deleterious effects at higher levels of biological organization?; and (4) Which biomarkers, and bioindicator species, are meaningful and relevant for biomonitoring studies? Research studies concerning the use of biomarkers in other topics are also very welcome, namely, innovative statistical analysis and interpretation, studies of comparative physiology, wastewater quality and reuse, micro- and nanoplastic contamination, as well as the development of new methods or protocols are all within the scope of this Special Issue.

Dr. Laura Guimarães
Dr. Carlos Gravato
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • histopathology
  • oxidative stress
  • cellular energy allocation
  • behavior
  • neurotoxicity
  • immunotoxicity
  • non-invasive biomarkers
  • ecotoxicogenomics
  • genotoxicity

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Meeting the Salinity Requirements of the Bivalve Mollusc Crassostrea gigas in the Depuration Process and Posterior Shelf-Life Period to Improve Food Safety and Product Quality
Water 2021, 13(8), 1126; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081126 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 868
Abstract
Microbiological contamination of bivalve molluscs is one of the major concerns inherent to food safety, thus depuration is frequently needed to assure food safety levels associated with their consumption. Salinity plays an important role in the metabolic activity of bivalves and as such [...] Read more.
Microbiological contamination of bivalve molluscs is one of the major concerns inherent to food safety, thus depuration is frequently needed to assure food safety levels associated with their consumption. Salinity plays an important role in the metabolic activity of bivalves and as such can influence their depuration capacity. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of salinity (25, 30, 35 and 40) on the efficiency of the depuration process, along with the quality and shelf-life of Crassostrea gigas. For this, a 24-h depuration was carried out, followed by a storage period at 5 ± 1 °C for six days. Microbiological analyses and biochemical parameters related to oxidative stress response were analysed. Escherichia coli load was reduced in only 24 h, disregarding the salinity of the system. After the shelf-life period, the activity of the antioxidant defences at salinities 35 and 40 is higher but is still not sufficient to avoid lipid peroxidation. Over time, there is a decrease in oyster metabolism probably due to being chilled and to the action of exposure to air. In sum, this study suggests salinities between 25 and 30 as preferential for the depuration process of C. gigas and subsequent quality during shelf-life. Full article
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Article
Behavioral Parameters of Planarians (Girardia tigrina) as Fast Screening, Integrative and Cumulative Biomarkers of Environmental Contamination: Preliminary Results
Water 2021, 13(8), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081077 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 466
Abstract
The present study aims to use behavioral responses of the freshwater planarian Girardia tigrina to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on the aquatic ecosystem of the watershed Araguaia-Tocantins (Tocantins, Brazil). Behavioral responses are integrative and cumulative tools that reflect changes in energy [...] Read more.
The present study aims to use behavioral responses of the freshwater planarian Girardia tigrina to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on the aquatic ecosystem of the watershed Araguaia-Tocantins (Tocantins, Brazil). Behavioral responses are integrative and cumulative tools that reflect changes in energy allocation in organisms. Thus, feeding rate and locomotion velocity (pLMV) were determined to assess the effects induced by the laboratory exposure of adult planarians to water samples collected in the region of Tocantins-Araguaia, identifying the sampling points affected by contaminants. Furthermore, physicochemical and microbiological parameters, as well as the presence of inorganic compounds (dissolved aluminum, total barium, total chloride, dissolved iron, total fluoride, total manganese, nitrates, nitric nitrogen, total sulfate, total zinc) and surfactants, were determined on each specific sampling point. The behavioral biomarkers (feeding rate and pLMV) of the freshwater planarians were significantly decreased when organisms were exposed to water samples from four municipalities (Formoso do Araguaia, Lagoa da Confusão, Gurupi and Porto Nacional), sites of the Tocantins-Araguaia hydrographic region—TAHR. Both behavioral biomarkers decreased up to ~37–39% compared to organisms in ASTM medium only. Our results showed that these behavioral biomarkers can be used for fast screening monitoring of environmental samples of freshwater ecosystems, since a decrease in feeding rate and locomotor activity was observed in sites impacted by anthropogenic activities. However, the absence of effects observed in some sampling points does not represent the absence of contamination, since several other classes of contaminants were not determined. In these negative results, the absence of deleterious effects on behavioral biomarkers might only be indicative that the potential presence of contaminants on such sites does not significantly affect the performance of planarians. This fast screening approach seems to be useful to determine contaminated sites in freshwater ecosystems for biomonitoring purposes. This knowledge will help to develop biomonitoring programs and to decide appropriate sampling sites and analysis. Full article
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Article
Tail Coiling Assay in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Embryos: Stage of Development, Promising Positive Control Candidates, and Selection of an Appropriate Organic Solvent for Screening of Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT)
Water 2021, 13(2), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020119 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 645
Abstract
It is relatively recent that tail coiling assay in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos has been proposed as an alternative method to screen for developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) induced by chemicals. Despite the considerable use of the method, there is no consensus related [...] Read more.
It is relatively recent that tail coiling assay in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos has been proposed as an alternative method to screen for developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) induced by chemicals. Despite the considerable use of the method, there is no consensus related to the most suitable age of embryos and other experimental parameters. Non-exposed embryos were videotaped for tail-coiling activity from 18 to 54 h post-fertilization (hpf) and after exposure to positive control candidates (caffeine, fluoxetine, and tricaine (MS-222)) and organic solvents (acetone, dimethyl-sulfoxide (DMSO), and ethanol) from 26.0 to 28.5 hpf. Results demonstrated that embryos from 22 to 29 hpf presented a constant coiling activity, with no significant differences between the activity measurements. We also found that stimulant properties of caffeine and the anesthetic effects of MS-222 induced hyperactivity and hypoactivity, respectively. Finally, even using DMSO at 1%, it seems to be safer as a solvent for neurotoxicity evaluation by tail coiling assay. The period from 26.0 to 28.5 hpf was appropriate for a fast protocol of tail coiling assay. Caffeine and MS-222 were demonstrated to be promising positive control candidates, whereas DMSO was considered the most appropriate solvent choice for tail coiling assay. Full article
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Article
Challenges and Opportunities for Integrating In Silico Models and Adverse Outcomes Pathways to Set and Relate New Biomarkers
Water 2020, 12(12), 3549; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123549 - 17 Dec 2020
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework has been considered the most innovative tool to collect, organize, and evaluate relevant information on the toxicological effects of chemicals, facilitating the establishment of links between molecular events and adverse outcomes at the critical level of biological [...] Read more.
The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework has been considered the most innovative tool to collect, organize, and evaluate relevant information on the toxicological effects of chemicals, facilitating the establishment of links between molecular events and adverse outcomes at the critical level of biological organization. Considering the combination of the high volume of toxicological and ecotoxicological data produced and the application of artificial intelligence algorithms from the last few years, not only can higher mechanistic interpretability be reached with new in silico models, but also a potential increase in predictivity in hazard assessments and the identification of new potential biomarkers can be achieved. The current paper aims to discuss some potential challenges and ways of integrating in silico models and AOPs to predict toxicological effects and to set and relate new biomarkers for defined purposes. With the use of the AOP framework to organize the ecotoxicological, toxicological, and structural data generated from in chemico, in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo, and population studies, it is expected that the generated biological and chemical construct will improve its application, establishing a knowledge platform to set and relate new biomarkers by key event relationships (KERs). Full article
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Article
Seasonal Variation and Assessment of Fish Resources in the Yangtze Estuary Based on Environmental DNA
Water 2020, 12(10), 2874; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102874 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
In the past few years, environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques have been used to monitor marine communities. Research indicates that eDNA is an effective tool for monitoring fishery resources. This study analyzed the seasonal variations in fish resources in the Yangtze Estuary, China, using [...] Read more.
In the past few years, environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques have been used to monitor marine communities. Research indicates that eDNA is an effective tool for monitoring fishery resources. This study analyzed the seasonal variations in fish resources in the Yangtze Estuary, China, using eDNA. A total of 103 water samples were collected from the Yangtze Estuary across the four seasons in 2019—20 samples in February, 28 in May, 28 in August and 27 in November. Our research successfully detected the fishery resources of the Yangtze Estuary. We found significant differences according to the season. The results showed that 59 species were identified in 2019 (20 in February, 16 in May, 5 in August and 45 in November) and fish species varied widely over the four seasons. Furthermore, our samples revealed significant differences in annual fish stocks in the Yangtze Estuary, compared with eDNA data from 2018 and with traditional surveys from past years. Overall, eDNA is a useful emerging tool to assist with monitoring and protecting fish resources for the Yangtze Estuary. Full article
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