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Environ Toxicol. 2002 Oct;17(5):424-33.

Mechanism and prediction for contamination of freshwater bivalves (Unionidae) with the cyanobacterial toxin microcystin in hypereutrophic Lake Suwa, Japan.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Shinshu University, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.


Seasonal changes of microcystin (MC) bioaccumulation in three freshwater Unionid bivalves, Anodonta woodiana, Cristaria plicata, and Unio douglasiae, were investigated in the hypereutrophic Lake Suwa. Total MC concentrations (MC-RR and -LR) as determined by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography were at high levels in the hepatopancreas of C. plicata and U. douglasiae, with maxima at 297 and 420 microg/g dry weight, respectively. The amounts and seasonal changes in the accumulated MC concentration differed in all species. The total MC concentration of A. woodiana was always less than that of other species (maximum concentration of 12.6 microg/g dry weight). The toxin concentration of C. plicata remained very low in summer, when the Microcystis bloom occurred, but increased rapidly in autumn, when the toxic bloom disappeared. For U. douglasiae, simple regression analyses were performed to clarify the relationship between MC bioaccumulation and environmental parameters such as water temperature, chlorophyll a, suspended solids (SS), intracellular MC per unit volume of lake water and per-unit weight of SS and extracellular MC. The toxin concentration of U. douglasiae correlated more closely with qualitative factors, with intracellular toxin per SS (p < 0.001, R(2) = 0.72) than with quantitative factors such as chlorophyll a and intracellular toxin per unit volume of lake water. No correlation could be found between MC in the tissues and extracellular MC. These results indicate that a long-term survey is needed to assess the safety of bivalves. The study should take into consideration both interspecific differences in toxin content and what is the optimal monitoring parameter.

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