Special Issue "Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Loredana Manfra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), 00144 Rome, Italy
2. Department of Marine Biotechnology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy
Interests: ecotoxicology and nano(eco)toxicology; environmental contamination assessment and monitoring; bioremediation; ecological risk assessment; emerging contaminants; standard and alternative bioassays; molecular and genomic tools; multidisciplinary approaches
Dr. Alice Rotini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: marine ecology; microbiology; environmental contamination and bioremediation; ecological risk assessment; ecotoxicology; bioassays and biomarkers; emerging contaminants: marine and coastal ecosystems; seagrass monitoring; molecular and genomic tools; marine plant ecophysiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The environmental pollution presents a global challenge due to the interactions among conventional pollutants (e.g., persistent organic compounds, metals), emerging contaminants (e.g., nanoparticles, pharmaceuticals, plastics, etc.) and the increasing environmental stressors (e.g., climate changes, invasive species, eutrophication).

The (eco)toxicology investigates the adverse effects of potentially toxic agents or other stressors on biological targets, from cellular to ecosystem level. The inland, coastal and marine waters appear as the final destination for most of contaminants, thus, understanding toxicity mechanisms and interactions associated with multiple chemical exposures is crucial to preserve the functional integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

Recently, many researches have focused on the ecological and safety issues of (nano)materials and commercial products to assess and reduce the risk of their environmental toxicity. Bioremediation systems and eco-friendly technologies are constantly promoted. Biological responses in case of chronic exposures have been increasingly investigated, beside the acute ones.

Nevertheless, due to the complexity of this research field, the multiple chemical interactions, adverse effects of pollutants at the molecular and genetic level, as well as the implications on biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics remain too little explored. Finally, the development and optimisation of alternative methods, which could replace, reduce or refine the use of fish in ecotoxicity tests are cutting-edge issues, considering the animal welfare regulations.

This special issue “Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment” welcomes research and review papers dealing with ecotoxicological studies, with particularly focus on marine data and above-mentioned aspects.

Dr. Loredana Manfra
Dr. Alice Rotini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Aquatic ecotoxicity
  • (Nano)ecotoxicity
  • Conventional and emerging pollutants
  • Environmental contamination
  • Mechanisms of toxicity
  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biomonitoring
  • Biomarkers
  • Bioassay

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Do Single-Component and Mixtures Selected Organic UV Filters Induce Embryotoxic Effects in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)?
Water 2021, 13(16), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162203 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 590
Abstract
UVs are important ingredients in common cosmetic products (e.g., sunscreens, hairsprays, soap). After their use, they can enter the aquatic ecosystem and negatively affect non-target aquatic organisms. The aim of our study was to evaluate acute embryotoxicity of selected organic UVs 2-phenylbenzimidazole-5-sulfonic acid [...] Read more.
UVs are important ingredients in common cosmetic products (e.g., sunscreens, hairsprays, soap). After their use, they can enter the aquatic ecosystem and negatively affect non-target aquatic organisms. The aim of our study was to evaluate acute embryotoxicity of selected organic UVs 2-phenylbenzimidazole-5-sulfonic acid (PBSA), ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC), octocrylene (OC), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) and benzophenone-3 (BP-3). The chemicals were tested both as a single substance and their mixtures. The types of mixtures were chosen as follows: the combination of OC and 4-MBC; the combination of PBSA, EHMC and BP-3 and the combination of all five UV filters. The embryotoxicity was evaluated using a modified method of the Fish Embryo Acute Toxicity Test-OECD guideline 236 and zebrafish (Danio rerio) was selected as a suitable fish model organism. The toxic effects were studied by assessing mortality, hatching and the occurrence of malformations at 24, 48, 72 and 96 h post fertilization. The obtained results indicate that especially the mixture of OC and 4-MBC presents a potential risk of embryotoxicity for zebrafish due to a significant increase in mortality, which was 41.7% in the experimental group exposed to 10 μg/L at 96 h post fertilization. Based on our results, the most effected sub-lethal endpoints were hatching and malformation (e.g., edema of pericard, bent spine, yolk edema), but with no statistically significant effect. These results differ within groups with single UVs and with their mixtures, suggesting the interaction of these substances when they are exposed together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment)
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Article
Effects of the Antidepressants Citalopram and Venlafaxine on the Big Ramshorn Snail (Planorbarius corneus)
Water 2021, 13(13), 1722; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131722 - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 559
Abstract
Depression is a serious health issue and, being such, treatment for it has become a topic of increasing concern. Consequently, the prescription rates of antidepressants have increased by about 50% over the past decade. Among antidepressants, citalopram and venlafaxine are the most frequently [...] Read more.
Depression is a serious health issue and, being such, treatment for it has become a topic of increasing concern. Consequently, the prescription rates of antidepressants have increased by about 50% over the past decade. Among antidepressants, citalopram and venlafaxine are the most frequently prescribed in Germany. Due to the high consumption and low elimination rates of both antidepressants during wastewater purification, they are frequently found in surface waters, where they may pose a risk to the aquatic environment. For the present study, we conducted experiments with the big ramshorn snail, which we exposed to environmentally relevant and explicitly higher concentrations (1–1000 µg/L) of the antidepressants citalopram and venlafaxine. We investigated apical endpoints, such as weight, mortality, behavioural changes, B-esterase activity, Hsp70 stress protein level and superoxide dismutase activity, as well as the tissue integrity of the hepatopancreas in the exposed snails. Citalopram and venlafaxine had no effects on the B-esterase activity, Hsp70 level and superoxide dismutase activity. Citalopram exposure resulted in weight reduction and tissue reactions in the hepatopancreas of snails exposed to 1000 µg/L. In contrast, venlafaxine did not induce comparable effects, but impacted the behaviour (sole detachment) of snails exposed to 100 µg/L and 1000 µg/L of the antidepressant. These results revealed that venlafaxine can affect snails at concentrations 10 times lower than citalopram. For this, in 2020 venlafaxine was introduced in the “Surface Water Watch List”, a list of potential pollutants that should be carefully monitored in surface water by the EU Member States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment)
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Article
A Weight of Evidence (WOE) Approach to Assess Environmental Hazard of Marine Sediments from Adriatic Offshore Platform Area
Water 2021, 13(12), 1691; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121691 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 581
Abstract
European legislative framework supports a multidisciplinary strategy of environmental monitoring because the environment is a complex system of abiotic and biotic interactions, and it should not be studied and protected by looking at one single aspect. The resulting heterogeneous data request to be [...] Read more.
European legislative framework supports a multidisciplinary strategy of environmental monitoring because the environment is a complex system of abiotic and biotic interactions, and it should not be studied and protected by looking at one single aspect. The resulting heterogeneous data request to be carefully processed, and the application of Weight of Evidence (WOE) approaches is, thereby, an integrated validated tool. In this perspective, the present study aims to: (i). apply a specific model (Sediqualsoft) based on the WOE approach for processing multidisciplinary data related to four Lines Of Scientific Evidence (LOEs: chemical analyses, ecotoxicological bioassays, bioaccumulation tests and biomarkers) regarding sediments from an area of the Adriatic Sea; (ii). evaluate the usefulness of this specific integrated approach to estimate the potential environmental hazard due to the presence of gas production platforms respect to the traditional approach of sediment chemical characterization. This latter recognized a more contaminated area within 100 m of the platforms in which the Sediqualsoft model showed the presence of a chemical hazard, ranging from moderate to severe, and identified the contaminants (e.g., some metals, benzo(a)pyrene and acenaphthene) most responsible for it. A significant hazard also appeared in some of the sampled stations by analyzing the LOEs dedicated to the biological responses. The choice of different reference values (regulatory limits, threshold values or concentrations measured in the control area) influenced only the chemical hazard but not the overall integration with other LOEs, showing a moderate hazard for the majority of stations. Here, the concentrations measured in a control area are firstly proposed as possible reference values in Sediqualsoft model applications; this could be of particular relevance when Sediment Quality Guidelines are not available for all the measured substances. Moreover, the limitations of a conventional pass-to-fail approach or worst-case scenario were overcoming interpreting whole chemical and ecotoxicological results. All data analyzed and discussed confirm Sediqualsoft as a suitable tool for processing environmental data, including those first processed here on a monitoring scenario of gas platforms that discharge Produced Water into the sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment)
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Article
Assessing the Ecotoxicity of Copper and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Comparison of Effects on Paracentrotus lividus and Botryllus schlosseri, as Alternative Bioassay Methods
Water 2021, 13(5), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050711 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 650
Abstract
Adult sea urchins and their embryos are ideal targets to investigate the medium- and long-term effects of various toxic agents, such as organic and inorganic pollutants, to forecast and mitigate their environmental effects. Similarly, small colonial tunicates such as Botryllid ascidians may reveal [...] Read more.
Adult sea urchins and their embryos are ideal targets to investigate the medium- and long-term effects of various toxic agents, such as organic and inorganic pollutants, to forecast and mitigate their environmental effects. Similarly, small colonial tunicates such as Botryllid ascidians may reveal acute toxicity processes and permit quick responses for the management of contaminants impacting coastal waters, to preserve the functional integrity of marine ecosystems. This investigation compares the functional responses of two model invertebrates, the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the sea squirt Botryllus schlosseri, to chronic and acute exposures to organic and inorganic toxic agents. Such heavy metals as copper produce both acute and chronic effects on marine biota, while polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) mainly produce chronic effects at the concentrations ordinarily measured in marine coastal waters. Both models were tested over a range of concentrations of copper and PAHs. Copper triggered a clear effect in both species, producing a delay in the embryo development of P. lividus and a rapid death of sea squirts. B. schlosseri was less sensitive to PAHs than P. lividus. The results on both species may synergistically contribute to assess the toxicity of organic and inorganic compounds at various concentrations and different physiologic levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment)
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Review

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Review
The Seagrass Holobiont: What We Know and What We Still Need to Disclose for Its Possible Use as an Ecological Indicator
Water 2021, 13(4), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040406 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1313
Abstract
Microbes and seagrass establish symbiotic relationships constituting a functional unit called the holobiont that reacts as a whole to environmental changes. Recent studies have shown that the seagrass microbial associated community varies according to host species, environmental conditions and the host’s health status, [...] Read more.
Microbes and seagrass establish symbiotic relationships constituting a functional unit called the holobiont that reacts as a whole to environmental changes. Recent studies have shown that the seagrass microbial associated community varies according to host species, environmental conditions and the host’s health status, suggesting that the microbial communities respond rapidly to environmental disturbances and changes. These changes, dynamics of which are still far from being clear, could represent a sensitive monitoring tool and ecological indicator to detect early stages of seagrass stress. In this review, the state of art on seagrass holobiont is discussed in this perspective, with the aim of disentangling the influence of different factors in shaping it. As an example, we expand on the widely studied Halophila stipulacea’s associated microbial community, highlighting the changing and the constant components of the associated microbes, in different environmental conditions. These studies represent a pivotal contribution to understanding the holobiont’s dynamics and variability pattern, and to the potential development of ecological/ecotoxicological indices. The influences of the host’s physiological and environmental status in changing the seagrass holobiont, alongside the bioinformatic tools for data analysis, are key topics that need to be deepened, in order to use the seagrass-microbial interactions as a source of ecological information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Ecotoxicity Assessment)
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