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Testing the Use of Standardized Laboratory Tests to Infer Hg Bioaccumulation in Indigenous Benthic Organisms of Lake Maggiore (NW Italy)

Abstract : The chronic toxicity of mercury essentially derives from its strong tendency to biomagnify along food webs. For this reason, the European regulatory framework establishes an environmental quality standard for Hg based on the total Hg concentration in prey fish to protect top predators. A considerable part of the Hg burden of prey fish can come from the ingestion of benthic organisms that, in the presence of contaminated sediments, may remobilize substantial amounts of Hg towards the pelagic food webs. The present study evaluated whether Hg accumulation in assemblages of indigenous chironomids and oligochaetes could be predicted using standardized laboratory bioaccumulation tests with Chironomus riparius and Lumbriculus variegatus. Indigenous chironomids and oligochaetes were recovered at different sites in a lake suffering from legacy Hg pollution and analyzed for total Hg content. Sediment aliquots from the same sites were used to assess Hg bioaccumulation using laboratory-reared C. riparius and L. variegatus. Mercury concentrations in indigenous versus laboratory organisms showed a good correlation (p < 0.05; Spearman correlation test) only in the case of C. riparius versus indigenous chironomids, suggesting the possibility of using linear regressions to predict Hg accumulation by these benthic invertebrates. Further research needs and caveats as to the applicability of the present results to other aquatic systems are identified and discussed.
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Davide Vignati, Roberta Bettinetti, Angela Boggero, Sara Valsecchi. Testing the Use of Standardized Laboratory Tests to Infer Hg Bioaccumulation in Indigenous Benthic Organisms of Lake Maggiore (NW Italy). Applied Sciences, MDPI, 2020, Bioconversion, bioaccumulation and toxicity of mercury in a Changing World, 10 (6), pp.1970. ⟨10.3390/app10061970⟩. ⟨hal-02512868⟩

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