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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2013 Oct;65(3):486-97. doi: 10.1007/s00244-013-9920-6. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Use of Lithobates catesbeianus tadpoles in a multiple biomarker approach for the assessment of water quality of the Reconquista River (Argentina).

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Department of Basic Sciences, Applied Ecophysiology Program, Institute of Ecology and Sustainable Development (PRODEA-INEDES), National University of Lujan, PO Box 221, B6700ZBA Luján, Argentina.


The water quality of the Reconquista River (Argentina) water was monitored between 2009 and 2010 by means of a multiparametric approach. This periurban river is affected by agricultural, urban, and industrial discharges. Water samples were collected at a dam located in the headwaters and at 18 km downstream (M). Physicochemical profile and two water-quality indices (WQIs) were determined. Laboratory bioassays were performed by exposing Lithobates catesbeianus tadpoles to environmental samples for 96 h and determining the following parameters: (1) brain: acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity; (2) gill: catalase and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activities and glutathione (GSH) content; (3) liver: CAT and GST activities, superoxide dismutase, lipid peroxidation, and GSH content; (4) condition factor and hepatosomatic index; and (5) genotoxicity [micronucleus (MN) test in erythrocytes]. Physicochemical profile and WQIs corresponded with extensive pollution in M. Important temporal and spatial variability in biomarkers of tadpoles exposed to samples was found. Multivariate analyses showed that AChE in brain, MN frequency, liver and gill GST activities, and GSH content were key biomarkers.

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