Cholinesterase and glutathione S-transferase activities of three mollusc species from the NW Portuguese coast in relation to the 'Prestige' oil spill

Ana L S Tim-Tim, Fernando Morgado, Susana Moreira, Rui Rangel, António J A Nogueira, Amadeu M V M Soares, Lúcia Guilhermino
Chemosphere 2009, 77 (11): 1465-75
In November 2002, the tanker 'Prestige' released about 19,000 tonnes of a heavy fuel oil (no. 6) before sinking with about 58,000 tonnes of its cargo, 135 miles from Cabo Finisterra (Spain). A considerable part of the released fuel oil reached the Galician coast, causing a heavy black tide and an ecological disaster. Although the black tide did not reach the NW coast of Portugal, it is possible that some of the fuel oil or its components also arrived to this area directly through the sea water and/or indirectly through the food chain. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate possible changes in two widely used biomarkers, the activity of the enzymes cholinesterases (ChE) and glutathione S-transferases (GST), of three molluscs (Mytilus galloprovincialis, Nucella lapillus and Monodonta lineata) from wild populations of the NW Portuguese coast in relation to the 'Prestige' oil spill. Molluscs were collected seasonally before (autumn 2002) and after (winter 2002/2003), spring and summer 2003) the oil spill at several sites along the Portuguese NW coast. Enzymatic activities determined before the accident were compared with those determined at different times after the oil spill taking into consideration abiotic factors. Information from different parameters was integrated by Redundancy Analysis and Principal Response Curves (PRC). Results show that GST and ChE activities were influenced by abiotic factors. Despite this influence, the results of PRC analysis also suggest that some of the fuel oil reached the NW Portuguese coast changing the patterns of ChE and GST activities of local populations of rocky shore species. Furthermore, the present study highlights the need of long-term monitoring with wild populations to assess both historical and punctual effects of pollution in the marine environment.

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