An integrated approach for chemical water quality assessment of an urban river stretch through Effect-Based Methods and emerging pollutants analysis with a focus on genotoxicity


The impact of emerging chemical pollutants, on both status and functionality of aquatic ecosystems is worldwide recognized as a relevant issue of concern that should be assessed and managed by researchers, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders. In Europe, the Reach Regulation has registered more than 100.000 chemical substances daily released in the environment. Furthermore, the effects related to the mixture of substances present in aquatic ecosystems may not be predictable on the basis of chemical analyses alone. This evidence, coupled with the dramatic effects of climate changes on water resources through water scarcity and flooding, makes urgent the application of innovative, fast and reliable monitoring methods. In this context, Effect-Based Methods (EBMs) have been applied in the urban stretch of the Tiber River (Central Italy) with the aim of understanding if detrimental pressures affect aquatic environmental health. In particular, different eco-genotoxicological assays have been used in order to detect genotoxic activity of chemicals present in the river, concurrently characterized by chemical analysis. Teratogenicity and embryo-toxicity have been studied in order to cover additional endpoints. The EBMs have highlighted the presence of diffuse chemical pollution and ecotoxicological effects in the three sampling stations, genotoxicological effects have been also detected through the use of different tests and organisms. The chemical analyses confirmed that in the aquatic ecosystems there is a diffuse presence, even at low concentrations, of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, not routinely monitored pesticides, personal care products, PFAS. The results of this study can help to identify an appropriate battery of EBMs for future studies and the application of more appropriate measures in order to monitor, mitigate or eliminate chemical contamination and remediate its adverse/detrimental effects on the ecosystem health.

Authors: Mario Carere, Antonio Antoccia, Annamaria Buschini, Giada Frenzilli, Francesca Marcon, Cristina Andreoli, Gessica Gorbi, Antonio Suppa, Serena Montalbano, Valentina Prota, Francesca De Battistis, Patrizia Guidi, Margherita Bernardeschi, Mara Palumbo, Vittoria Scarcelli, Marco Colasanti, Veronica D’Ezio, Tiziana Persichini, Massimiliano Scalici, Antonella Sgura, Federica Spani, Ion Udroiu, Martina Valenzuela, Ines Lacchetti, Kevin di Domenico, Walter Cristiano, Valentina Marra, Anna Maria Ingelido, Nicola Iacovella, Elena De Felip, Riccardo Massei, Laura Mancini
; Full Source: Journal of environmental management 2021 Sep 17;300:113549. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113549.