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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2008 Sep;71(1):65-70. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Reduction of growth and haemolymph Ca levels in the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis chronically exposed to cobalt.

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  • 1Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent University Ugent, Jozef Plateaustraat 22, B-9000 Gent, Belgium. Karel.Deschamphelaere@Ugent.be


The ecological risk assessment and the development of water-quality criteria for Co are currently still hampered by insufficient knowledge about the toxicity of Co to freshwater organisms. A relevant group of organisms, for which no toxicity data with Co are available, is the class of the herbivorous pulmonate freshwater snails, which fulfil a pivotal role in the consumption and decomposition of aquatic plants and epihyton. We measured the growth rate of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis chronically exposed for 28 days to a series of Co concentrations. The no observed effect concentration (NOEC) and the lowest observed effect concentration (LOEC) for growth rate were 26 and 79 microg Co/L, respectively. Growth rate of snails exposed to 79 microg Co/L and higher concentrations was more impaired in the final 2 weeks of exposure than in the first 2 weeks of exposure. The reduced growth rate at 79 microg Co/L was accompanied by a reduced concentration of Ca in the haemolymph at the end of the exposure. Possible mechanisms of toxicity of Co to snail growth were suggested to be an impairment of Ca uptake and homeostasis and/or feeding inhibition. Although additional research is needed to investigate the relative importance of these mechanisms, as well as the interrelatedness between them, the toxicity data currently presented can assist in risk assessment and water-quality criteria development.

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