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Chemosphere. 2001 Nov;45(4-5):409-15.

DDT contamination in Lake Maggiore (N. Italy) and effects on zebra mussel spawning.

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Department of Biology, University of Milan, Italy.


Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is commonly used as contaminant bioindicator in Europe and North America. We used the zebra mussel to follow DDT pollution trends from 1996 to 1997 in Pallanza bay, Lake Maggiore, near the inlet of the River Toce, after a DDT-manufacturing plant discharging residues into a tributary of the River Toce had closed down. DDT contamination fell off sharply outside the bay, but tissue concentrations of the parent compound and residues remained high in molluscs sampled within the bay a year later. Molluscs collected in Pallanza bay in June 1997 released gametes earlier than those sampled at a nearby reference station. Histological studies showed that a significant percentage of these specimens showed marked oocyte degeneration suggesting that DDTs have endocrine-disrupting effects in this species.

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