Evaluation of three-year monitoring with biomarkers in fish following the Prestige oil spill (N Spain)

C Martínez-Gómez, B Fernández, J Valdés, J A Campillo, J Benedicto, F Sánchez, A D Vethaak
Chemosphere 2009, 74 (5): 613-20
A previous study using a suite of hepatic enzymatic biomarker in two demersal fish species (Lepidorhombus boscii and Callionymus lyra) indicated exposure of the fish to the hydrocarbons in the oil spilled by the Prestige five months after the accident. The main objective of this follow-up study is to determine whether the same biomarkers in both fish species show any significant variations in responses over the years following the Prestige oil spill. Detoxification and antioxidant enzyme measurements--of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GR) and catalase (CAT)--were taken from immature specimens. The results show significant lowering of biomarker activity two and three-years after the oil spill, indicating a decreasing level of exposure of the fish to residual hydrocarbons associated with the spillage (p < 0.01) and a recovery to baseline levels existing before the accident. Overall, spatial biomarker patterns over time are in agreement with the oil slick trajectories and the spatial distribution of tar aggregates found on the bottom shelf after the accident. The results also indicate that the Prestige oil spill had an impact on sublethal responses in fish not only in inshore areas, but also in offshore areas along the middle/outer northern Iberian shelf. In both species, EROD activity was found to be the most discriminating biomarker.

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