Impacts of S-metolachlor and terbuthylazine in fatty acid and carbohydrate composition of the benthic clam Scrobicularia plana


S-metolachlor (SMOC) and terbuthylazine (TBA) are herbicides that commonly appear as active ingredients (a.i.) in the composition of plant protection products. In a previous work, experimental bioassays were performed using those chemicals to find suitable molecular biomarkers to assess its toxicity to the non-target species Scrobicularia plane. The results obtained showed that the pollutants produce mortality and biochemical changes at the species, namely in protein contents and enzymatic activity levels. Thus, for a better understanding of the total biochemical impacts of those pollutants in S. plana, the composition of fatty acids (FA) and carbohydrates (CH) of the survival organisms are investigated here. In addition, since this species is edible its biochemical profile is directly related to its nutritious quality, which is analysed in this study. Furthermore, the analyses were performed in two types of tissue - the muscle and visceral mass of each survival organism. The greatest changes in FA composition are observable in small size class, being the most sensitive size class both at the toxicological and biochemical level. FA contents are higher in small organisms, both at the field and under laboratory conditions, being the disparity between size classes higher in visceral masses than in muscles. Indeed, muscles adequately represent the FA profile since those molecules appear in higher content in this tissue compared to visceral masses, becoming the better indicator tissue of biochemical changes. Besides, using muscles, less amount of biomass is needed, so it turns out to be the most cost-effective tissue to be used as endpoint in future studies. FA profiles observed at SMOC and TBA exposure are different, organisms from TBA exposure presenting a lower nutritious quality, in terms of FA abundance and diversity, than the organisms exposed to SMOC. Still, SMOC produces reductions of HUFA, essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the species. Moreover, HUFA (mostly EPA and DHA) occupied the greatest part of the FA composition of organisms exposed to the control treatments and to TBA; however, the decreases of HUFA caused by the SMOC exposure change the profiles and make SFA the most dominant group. These findings represent a risk of low occurrence of essential fatty acids in entire aquatic environments exposed to the chemicals studied. Regarding CH, glucose is the only monosaccharide found in S. plana which was expected since glycogen is the main polysaccharide in animal tissues. In general, the glucose content increases with a concentration of pollutants, whereas the glycogen concentration decreases, suggesting that the glucose is being released as a response to chemical stress. Thus, this work presents tools to assess biochemical impacts of S-metolachlor and terbuthylazine in aquatic systems and to goes deeper in the knowledge of these pollutants' toxicity to non-target species to predict its propagation through aquatic trophic webs.




Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Toxicology


Gutierrez, IB; Mesquita, AFC; Nunes, C; Coimbra, MA; Goncalves, FJM; Marques, JC; Goncalves, AMM

nossos autores


This study was supported by Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT) through the strategic projects UID/MAR/04292/2013 granted to MARE, UID/AMB/50017/2013 granted to CESAM, UID/CTM/50011/2013 and POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 granted to CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, and UID/QUI/00062/2013 granted to QOPNA, when applicable co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. A.F.C. Mesquita, A. M. M. Goncalves and C. Nunes thank FCT for the financial support provided through the doctoral (SFRH/BD/139831/2018) and post-doctoral (SFRH/BPD/97210/2013 and SFRH/BPD/100627/2014) grants, respectively, co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme (National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-2013), European Social Fund (EU), and the program POPH/FSE. A. M. M. Goncalves also acknowledges University of Coimbra for the contract IT057-18-7253. The authors thank Sara Knobelspiess for revise the writing of the manuscript.

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