Biological effects of marine contaminated sediments on Sparus aurata juveniles

C. Ribecco, M. E. Baker, R. Šášik, Y. Zuo, G. Hardiman, O. Carnevali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Chemical analysis of the compounds present in sediment, although informative, often is not indicative of the downstream biological effects that these contaminants exert on resident aquatic organisms. More direct molecular methods are needed to determine if marine life is affected by exposure to sediments. In this study, we used an aquatic multi-species microarray and q-PCR to investigate the effects on gene expression in juvenile sea bream (Sparus aurata) of two contaminated sediments defined as sediment 1 and 2, respectively, from marine areas in Northern Italy. Both sediments affected gene expression as evidenced by aquatic multi-species microarray analysis and q-PCR. Exposure of S. aurata juveniles to sediment 1 and sediment 2 altered expression of genes that are biomarkers for endocrine disruption. There were differences between the effects of sediment 1 and sediment 2 on gene expression in S. aurata juveniles indicating that the chemicals in the two sediments had different physiological targets. These results suggest that the classification of sediment solely on the basis of specific chemical profiles is inadequate, and not a true indicator of its potential to cause harmful effects. Our data also indicate that integration of physiochemical analysis and bioassays for monitoring the downstream harmful effects on aquatic organisms are required to gain a complete understanding of the effects of sediment on aquatic life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • ERα
  • GR
  • MTT
  • RXRα
  • Sparus aurata
  • TRα

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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