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Aquat Toxicol. 2001 Jul;53(2):115-26.

Organotins in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and sediments of the Quebec City Harbour area of the St. Lawrence River.

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Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore Rd., Quebec, H9X 3V9, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Canada.


Toxic antifouling agents such as tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPT) have been released in aquatic ecosystems through the use of antifouling paint applied to ship hulls, pleasure crafts and fish nets and these compounds can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. The purpose of this study was 1) to assess the extent of the distribution of organotins from a contaminated marina to the St. Lawrence River system by measuring organotin concentrations in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and in sediments collected from 9 sites along the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City in July 1998, and 2) to examine the histopathological condition of zebra mussel tissues from these sites. TBT concentrations in zebra mussels were between 37 and 1078 ng Sn g(-1) wet weight, with the highest value found in the Bassin Louise marina. Elevated concentrations were also found in two other marinas. The concentrations decreased sharply to background levels just outside the marinas. All butyltins were detected in all sediments analysed, with highest values found in the Bassin Louise marina. Phenyltins were detected in three of the nine sites in low concentrations (<55 ng Sn g(-1)) in zebra mussels. There was a significant correlation between TBT in sediments and mussels. Gonadal development of zebra mussels varied largely between sites, and was negatively associated to TBT levels in mussel tissue. This study shows that TBT contamination remains a problem in localised freshwater sectors of the St. Lawrence River.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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