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The use of the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii, Girard) as indicator of the bioavailability of heavy metals in environmental

Summary: The use of the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii, Girard) as
indicator of the bioavailability of heavy metals in environmental
monitoring in the River Guadiamar (SW, Spain)
Paloma Alcorlo , Marina Otero, María Crehuet, Angel Baltanás, Carlos Montes
Department Ecology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, E-28049 Madrid, Spain
Received 29 September 2005; received in revised form 3 February 2006; accepted 15 February 2006
Available online 6 March 2006
A translocation experiment of red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) to different sites located in the River Guadiamar was
performed in order to assess the ability of this species as bioindicator of heavy metal and metalloid contamination. Crayfish were
placed in cages and exposed to polluted environment during either 6 or 12days in the three sites with different concentration of
contaminants. Their tissues (exoskeleton+gills, hepatopancreas and abdominal muscle) were dissected and analysed by ICP­MS
to assess for concentration of Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb and As. Both exposure times result in significant bioaccumulation of some metals in
crayfish tissues as compared to their concentration in the environment. According to overall metal concentration, crayfish tissues
rank as follows: hepatopancreas/viscera>exoskeleton/gills>abdominal muscle. Essential metals for crayfish metabolism (Cu and
Zn) are always found in high concentrations independently of their quantities in the environment because of the ability of crayfish
to manipulate their levels for their own metabolic profit. Metals not involved in crayfish metabolism (Cd, Pb, As) tend to increase
with increasing concentration in the surrounding environment and with longer exposure times. Thus crayfish could be used as
bioindicator of these pollutants because their dose- and time-dependent accumulation may be reflective of the levels of non-
essential metals present in contaminated wetlands. Future guidelines in plans for monitoring contamination on polluted


Source: Alcorlo, Paloma - Departamento de Ecología, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine