Imposex and organotin compounds in ports of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: Is the story over?

Organotin compounds are toxic substances released into the marine environment from antifouling paints. Sixty-two years following their first application and 9 years after the complete ban on their use as biocides in 2003 (EC No. 782/2003), their negative impact on molluscs was still evident, as illustrated by imposex (i.e. the masculinisation of female gastropods). This phenomenon is widely used to investigate tributyltin (TBT) pollution, with Hexaplex trunculus and Nassarius nitidus being considered as sensitive bioindicators. H. trunculus specimens and sediment samples collected from the ports of Cagliari (Sardinia), El Kantaoui (Tunisia) and Olhão (Portugal), along with N. nitidus individuals from the port of Faro (Portugal), were used for the assessment of imposex intensity and organotin pollution in these areas. High imposex frequency and organotin concentrations (TBT, triphenyltin (TPhT) and their degradation products) were observed, especially in Sardinia, implying that these chemicals remain a significant pollution issue in the specific Mediterranean ports. Moreover, the highly significant relationship established between penis length of imposex-affected females H. trunculus and TBT/TPhT concentrations offers a rapid and nonsacrificial proxy model for assessing the impact of organotins in coastal environments. Finally, the complementary use of more than one TBT bioindicator is advised in order to obtain more accurate results in detailed monitoring studies of TBT pollution.

Authors: Anastasiou TI, Chatzinikolaou E, Mandalakis M, Arvanitidis C. ;Full Source: Science of the Total Environment. 2016 Jul 14. pii: S0048-9697(16)31398-5. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.209. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]