John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Resuspended contaminated sediments cause sub‐lethal stress to oysters: A biomarker differentiates TSS and contaminant effects

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Resuspended contaminated sediments (RCS) represent an important route of contaminant exposure for aquatic organisms. Filter‐feeding organisms are exposed to contaminants, both in the dissolved (at the gills) and particulate form (in the digestive system), during resuspension events. In addition, these organisms must manage the physical stress associated with an increase in total suspended solids (TSS). To date, few studies have experimentally compared the contributions, to biological stress, of contaminated and clean suspended solids. We mixed field‐collected sediments (<63 µm) from clean and contaminated field sites to create four treatments of increasing metal concentrations. Sydney rock oysters were then exposed to sediment treatments at different TSS concentrations for 4 days, and cellular biomarkers (lysosomal membrane stability, lipid peroxidation and glutathione) were measured to evaluate sub‐lethal toxicity. Lysosomal membrane stability was the most sensitive biomarker for distinguishing effects from resuspended contaminated sediments, as increasing amounts of contaminated TSS increased lysosomal membrane destabilisation. Our results illustrate the importance of considering contaminant exposures from resuspended sediments when assessing the toxicity of contaminants to aquatic organisms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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