Exposure-dose-response of Tellina deltoidalis to contaminated estuarine sediments 3. Selenium spiked sediments


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The metalloid selenium is an essential element which at slightly elevated concentrations is toxic and mutagenic. In Australia the burning of coal for power generation releases selenium into estuarine environments where it accumulates in sediments. The relationship between selenium exposure, dose and response was investigated in the deposit feeding, benthic, marine bivalve Tellina deltoidalis. Bivalves were exposed in microcosms for 28 days to individual selenium spiked sediments, 0, 5 and 20 μg/g dry mass. T. deltoidalis accumulated selenium from spiked sediment but not in proportion to the sediment selenium concentrations. The majority of recovered subcellular selenium was associated with the nuclei and cellular debris fraction, probably as protein bound selenium associated with plasma and selenium bound directly to cell walls. Selenium exposed organisms had increased biologically detoxified selenium burdens which were associated with both granule and metallothionein like protein fractions, indicating selenium detoxification. Half of the biologically active selenium was associated with the mitochondrial fraction with up to 4 fold increases in selenium in exposed organisms. Selenium exposed T. deltoidalis had significantly reduced GSH:GSSG ratios indicating a build-up of oxidised glutathione. Total antioxidant capacity of selenium exposed T. deltoidalis was significantly reduced which corresponded with increased lipid peroxidation, lysosomal destabilisation and micronuclei frequency. Clear exposure-dose-response relationships have been demonstrated for T. deltoidalis exposed to selenium spiked sediments, supporting its suitability for use in selenium toxicity tests using sub-lethal endpoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C: Toxicology Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


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