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Mar Environ Res. 2013 Feb;83:73-81. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2012.10.012. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Biochemical responses and physiological status in the crab Hemigrapsus crenulatus (Crustacea, Varunidae) from high anthropogenically-impacted estuary (Lenga, south-central Chile).

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Unidad de Sistemas Acuáticos, Centro EULA-Chile, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile.


Estuarine environmental assessment by sub-individual responses is important in order to understand contaminant effects and to find suitable estuarine biomonitor species. Our study aimed to analyze oxidative stress responses, including glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity, total antioxidant capacity (ACAP) and lipid peroxidation levels (TBARS) in estuarine crabs Hemigrapsus crenulatus from a high anthropogenically-impacted estuary (Lenga) compared to low and non-polluted estuaries (Tubul and Raqui), in a seasonal scale (winter-summer), tissue specific (hepatopancreas and gills) and sex related responses. Results showed that hepatopancreas in male crabs better reflected inter-estuary differences. Morpho-condition traits as Cephalothorax hepatopancreas index (CHI) could be used as an indicator of physiological status of estuarine crabs. Discriminant analysis also showed that GST and TBARS levels in summer are more suitable endpoints for establishing differences between polluted and non-polluted sites. These results suggest the importance of seasonality, target tissue, sex and physiological status of brachyuran crabs for estuarine biomonitoring assessment.

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