Aquatic environment

Immunotoxic potential of aeration lagoon effluents for the treatment of domestic and hospital wastewaters in the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata

Francois Gagné , Chantale André , Marlène Fortier , Michel Fournier


Received ,Revised , Accepted , Available online May 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 781-789

Municipal wastewaters are major sources of pollution for the aquatic biota. The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of some pharmaceutical products and the immunotoxic potential of a municipal wastewater aeration lagoon for the treatment of the domestic wastewaters of a small town with wastewater inputs from a 400-bed hospital complex. Endemic mussels were collected, caged and placed in the final aeration lagoon and at sites 1 km upstream and 1 km downstream of the effluent outfall in the receiving river for a period of 14 days. The results showed that the final aeration lagoon contained high levels of total coliforms, conductivity and low dissolved oxygen (2.9 mg/L) as well as detectable amounts of trimethoprim, carbamazepine, gemfibrozil, and norfloxacin at concentrations exceeding 50 ng/L. The lagoon effluent was indeed toxic to the mussel specimens, as evidenced by the appearance of mortality after 14 days (10% mortality), decreased mussel weight-to-shell-length ratio and loss of hemocyte viability. The number of adhering hemocytes, phagocytic activity, total nitrite levels and arachidonic cyclooxygenase activity were significantly higher in mussels placed in the final aeration lagoon. A multivariate analysis also revealed that water pH, conductivity, total coliforms and dissolved oxygen were the endpoints most closely linked with phagocytic activity, the amount of adhering hemocytes and loss of hemocyte viability. In conclusion, exposure of mussels to treated aerated lagoon wastewater is deleterious to freshwater mussels where the immune system is compromised.

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