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Chemosphere. 2005 Feb;58(5):671-82.

Heavy metal bioavailability and effects: II. Histopathology-bioaccumulation relationships caused by mining activities in the Gulf of Cádiz (SW, Spain).

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1
Dpto. de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz, Polígono río San Pedro s/n, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain.

Abstract

The relationship between bioaccumulation of heavy metals (Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu) and histological lesions in different tissues of organisms is assessed in three different areas located in the southwest of Spain in the Gulf of Cádiz (Ría of Huelva, Guadalquivir estuary and Bay of Cádiz) affected and non-affected by mining activities. Data included in these relationships were obtained along the years 2000 and 2001 to address the impact of the Aznalcóllar mining spill on the Guadalquivir estuary. The bioaccumulation and the histological lesions measured in this seasonal study in the Gudalquivir estuary were linked to derive tissue quality guidelines (TQGs) by means of a multivariate analysis approach (MAA). Sediments collected in the same areas of study were used to expose organisms during the survey carried out in autumn 2001 and to address the relationship between bioaccumulation and histological lesions under laboratory conditions and related to chemicals bound to sediments. Lesions show that the organisms collected in the ría of Huelva and exposed to their sediments were severe, intermediate in the Guadalquivir estuary and absent in the Bay of Cádiz. Results show that the Guadalquivir estuary trends to recover its initial status quo previous to the mining spill. The link between chemical concentration and the lesions measured in the same tissues using MAA permits to derive tissue quality guidelines for two organisms, oysters (Crassostrea angulata) and clams (Scrobicularia plana) collected in the Guadalquivir estuary and associated with the heavy metals from the mining spill (Zn and Cd). The TQG values expressed as concentrations (mgkg-1--dry weight) not associated with biological effects are for oysters, Zn, 8603, Cd, 3.42; and for clams Zn, 800, Cd, 2.6.

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