Send to

Choose Destination
Sensors (Basel). 2009;9(3):1807-20. doi: 10.3390/s90301807. Epub 2009 Mar 13.

Leeches as Sensor-bioindicators of River Contamination by PCBs.

Author information

University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology, Palackeho 1-3, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the use of leeches of the genus Erpobdella as a means of assessing polychlorinated biphenyl contamination of watercourses. The River Skalice, heavily contaminated with PCBs, was selected as a model. The source of contamination was a road gravel processing factory in Rožmitál pod Třemšínem from which an estimated 1 metric ton of PCBs leaked in 1986. Levels of PCB were measured in leeches collected between 1992 to 2003 from 11 sites covering about 50 km of the river (the first sampling site upstream to the source of contamination and 10 sites downstream). The PCB indicator congeners IUPA no. 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153, and 180 were measured. Levels were highest at the four sampling sites nearest the source of pollution. The highest values of PCB congeners were found in 1992. PCB content decreased from 1992 to 2003 and with distance from the source. The study indicated that leeches of the genus Erpobdella are a suitable bioindicator of contamination in the surface layer of river sediments.


Erpobdella; PCB indicator congeners; Skalice River

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center