From Low Tier to Individual Effects of Emerging Pollutants: Integrative Approaches on Ecotoxicological Assessments

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecotoxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 9247

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal
Interests: environmental toxicology; exposure assessments; omics technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics); biomarkers; mechanisms of toxicity; adverse outcome pathways

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Guest Editor
MARE−Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal
Interests: biomarkers; oxidative stress biomarkers; environmental toxicology; antioxidant activity; macroalgae; xenobiotics; aquatic toxicology; ecotoxicoproteomics; aquatic invertebrates; ecotoxicology

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Guest Editor
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 3AT, UK
Interests: ecotoxicogenomics, adverse outcome pathways, soil and aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The way in which toxicological assessments are currently performed (mainly focusing on apical endpoints, such as survival) is becoming considered inefficient and is overdue for change. The first response barriers to anthropogenic stress are triggered at the sub-cellular level and are far more likely to occur and have severe consequences for an organism´s fitness and on the ecosystem. Used in an integrated approach through different biological levels, subcellular endpoints can actively support a more realistic and meaningful assessment of the impacts of pollutants. This assessment can result in highly specific and integrative markers that can be used as fast and early detection tools in pursuing both effects and modes of toxic action of these chemicals. To a certain extent they can also be used for the development of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP). 

This Special Issue will explore the role of an integrative evaluation of effects in non-target organisms, with a particular focus on emerging pollutants. Submissions of original research articles, case studies and up-to-date review papers on integrative ecotoxicological approaches combining individual level endpoints (e.g., survival, growth and behaviour) with biochemical (e.g., oxidative stress and damage) and/or molecular (e.g., gene expression and protein abundance) endpoints are welcome.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Tiago Simões
Dr. Hugo Ricardo Monteiro
Dr. Nuno Ferreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • biomarkers
  • ecotoxicology
  • emerging pollutants
  • biological effects
  • mode-of-action
  • integrative analysis
  • analytical methods
  • sub-lethal endpoints

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 3457 KiB  
Article
Toxic Relationships: Prediction of TBT’s Affinity to the Ecdysteroid Receptor of Triops longicaudatus
by Nuno Gonçalo de Carvalho Ferreira, Adriano Chessa, Isabel Oliveira Abreu, Luís Oliva Teles, Peter Kille, António Paulo Carvalho and Laura Guimarães
Toxics 2023, 11(11), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11110937 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
Tributyltin (TBT) is a biocide introduced in the 1960s in antifouling paints. Despite legislation banning its use, its persistence in the environment still causes significant harm to organisms. Tributyltin is a ligand of retinoid X receptors (RXR) and ecdysteroid receptors (EcRs), which in [...] Read more.
Tributyltin (TBT) is a biocide introduced in the 1960s in antifouling paints. Despite legislation banning its use, its persistence in the environment still causes significant harm to organisms. Tributyltin is a ligand of retinoid X receptors (RXR) and ecdysteroid receptors (EcRs), which in arthropods act as homologs of RXR. Focusing on Metazoan species, this study used genomic and proteomic information from different sources to compare their three-dimensional structure, phylogenetic distribution, and amino acid sequence alterations. The objective was to identify possible patterns that relate organisms’ sensitivity to TBT using the species Triops longicaudatus as the basis for the comparisons. The results showed great conservation of this protein across several species when comparing the interaction amino acids described to RXR (an EcR analog) in Homo sapiens. The three-dimensional comparison of RXR showed little conformational variation between different sequences by maintaining the interaction pocket. As for the Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) curve, an HC05 = 0.2649 [0.0789–0.7082] µg/L was obtained with no specific distribution between the different taxa. Protein-ligand docking analysis was then used to confirm the SSD curve ranking of species. Still, the results showed an opposite trend that may be related, for example, to differences in the LC50 values used in the calculations. This study serves as the first step for applying bioinformatics techniques to produce information that can be used as an alternative to animal or cellular experimentation. These techniques could be adapted to various chemicals and proteins, allowing for observations in a shorter timeframe and providing information on a broader spectrum. Full article
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20 pages, 2178 KiB  
Article
Ecotoxicological Effects of Four Commonly Used Organic Solvents on the Scleractinian Coral Montipora digitata
by Valentina Di Mauro, Elham Kamyab, Matthias Y. Kellermann, Mareen Moeller, Samuel Nietzer, Laura H. Luetjens, Sascha Pawlowski, Mechtild Petersen-Thiery and Peter J. Schupp
Toxics 2023, 11(4), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11040367 - 12 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1938
Abstract
Organic solvents are often used in aquatic toxicity tests to facilitate the testing of hydrophobic or poorly water-soluble substances such as ultraviolet (UV) filters, pesticides, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Knowledge of intrinsic effects (i.e., measured as standardized and non-standardized endpoints) of such [...] Read more.
Organic solvents are often used in aquatic toxicity tests to facilitate the testing of hydrophobic or poorly water-soluble substances such as ultraviolet (UV) filters, pesticides, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Knowledge of intrinsic effects (i.e., measured as standardized and non-standardized endpoints) of such carrier solvents in non-standardized organisms (i.e., corals), is critical to regulatory processes. Therefore, we exposed the reef-building coral Montipora digitata to the most commonly used carrier solvents ethanol, methanol, dimethyl sulfoxide, and dimethylformamide in the range of 10–100 µL L−1 for 16 days. The effects on mortality, photobiological, morphological, and oxidative stress markers were evaluated. In our study, all solvents resulted in significant morphological and/or oxidative stress responses, but not in mortality. Moreover, ethanol led to a rapid increase in turbidity, thus questioning its suitability as a carrier solvent in aquatic studies in general. Based on our observations, we could rank the solvent effects as follows: dimethylformamide < dimethyl sulfoxide ≈ methanol ≤ ethanol, with dimethylformamide showing the least and ethanol the most pronounced effects. We conclude that the use of solvents in toxicity studies with corals, particularly by examining non-standardized (e.g., morphological, physiological) endpoints, should be taken with caution and requires further elaboration. Full article
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15 pages, 2446 KiB  
Article
Metabolic Consequences of the Water We Drink: A Study Based on Field Evidence and Animal Model Experimentation
by Janaína Caroline Wolfart, João Lucas Theodoro, Fernanda Coleraus Silva, Cíntia Mara Ribas de Oliveira, Nuno G. C. Ferreira and Ana Tereza Bittencourt Guimarães
Toxics 2023, 11(4), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11040315 - 28 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1475
Abstract
The effect of the chronic consumption of water contaminated with residual concentrations of DDT’s metabolites (DDD—dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane and DDE—dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) found in the environment were evaluated on the biometric, hematological and antioxidant system parameters of the hepatic, muscular, renal and nervous tissues of Wistar rats. [...] Read more.
The effect of the chronic consumption of water contaminated with residual concentrations of DDT’s metabolites (DDD—dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane and DDE—dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) found in the environment were evaluated on the biometric, hematological and antioxidant system parameters of the hepatic, muscular, renal and nervous tissues of Wistar rats. The results showed that the studied concentrations (0.002 mg.L−1 of DDD plus 0.005 mg.L−1 of DDE) could not cause significant changes in the hematological parameters. However, the tissues showed significant alteration in the activity of the antioxidant system represented by the increase in the activity of the enzymes gluthathione S-transferases in the liver, superoxide dismutase in the kidney, gluthathione peroxidase in the brain, and several changes in enzymatic activity in muscle (SOD, GPx and LPO). The enzymes alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransaminase (AST) were also evaluated for the amino acids’ metabolism in the liver, with ALT showing a significant increase in the exposed animals. In the integrative analysis of biomarkers (Permanova and PCOA), the studied concentrations showed possible metabolic changes and damage to cellular structures evidenced by increased oxidative stress and body weight gain among the treated animals. This study highlights the need for further studies on the impact of banned pesticides still present in soils that may induce adverse effects in organisms that may prevail in future generations and the environment. Full article
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16 pages, 2532 KiB  
Article
Deltamethrin-Induced Respiratory and Behavioral Effects and Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP) in Short-Term Exposed Mozambique Tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus
by Azubuike V. Chukwuka, Shubhajit Saha, Dip Mukherjee, Priyajit Banerjee, Kishore Dhara and Nimai Chandra Saha
Toxics 2022, 10(11), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10110701 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1774
Abstract
Disrupted behavior and respiratory distress effects of 96-h acute deltamethrin exposures in adult Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, were investigated using behavioral indices and opercular movement, respectively. Deltamethrin concentrations were found to be associated with toxicological (lethal and sublethal) responses. At 24, 48, [...] Read more.
Disrupted behavior and respiratory distress effects of 96-h acute deltamethrin exposures in adult Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus, were investigated using behavioral indices and opercular movement, respectively. Deltamethrin concentrations were found to be associated with toxicological (lethal and sublethal) responses. At 24, 48, 72, and 96 h, the LC50 values and 95% confidence limits were 12.290 (11.174–14.411 µg/L), 12.671 (11.334–15.649 µg/L), 10.172 (9.310–11.193 µg/L), and 8.639 (7.860–9.417 µg/L), respectively. The GUTS-model analysis showed that GUTS-SD (stochastic death) with a narrow tolerance distribution in deltamethrin exposed O. mossambicus populations was more sensitive than the GUTS-IT (individual tolerance) model. Prior to death, exposed fish demonstrated concentration-dependent mortality and disturbed behavioral responses, including uncoordinated swim motions, increased mucus secretion, unbalanced and unpredictable swimming patterns, and inactivity. The altered behavioral patterns and increased opercular movement with increased deltamethrin levels and exposure time are strongly suggestive of neurotoxicity and respiratory distress, respectively. Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), describing biological mechanisms and plausible pathways, highlighted oxidative stress and cholinergic effects as intermediate steps linked to respiratory distress and behavioral toxicity. Full article
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22 pages, 4621 KiB  
Article
Effects of Glyphosate-Based Herbicide on Primary Production and Physiological Fitness of the Macroalgae Ulva lactuca
by Ricardo Cruz de Carvalho, Eduardo Feijão, Ana Rita Matos, Maria Teresa Cabrita, Andrei B. Utkin, Sara C. Novais, Marco F. L. Lemos, Isabel Caçador, João Carlos Marques, Patrick Reis-Santos, Vanessa F. Fonseca and Bernardo Duarte
Toxics 2022, 10(8), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10080430 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2090
Abstract
The use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) worldwide has increased exponentially over the last two decades increasing the environmental risk to marine and coastal habitats. The present study investigated the effects of GBHs at environmentally relevant concentrations (0, 10, 50, 100, 250, and 500 [...] Read more.
The use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) worldwide has increased exponentially over the last two decades increasing the environmental risk to marine and coastal habitats. The present study investigated the effects of GBHs at environmentally relevant concentrations (0, 10, 50, 100, 250, and 500 μg·L−1) on the physiology and biochemistry (photosynthesis, pigment, and lipid composition, antioxidative systems and energy balance) of Ulva lactuca, a cosmopolitan marine macroalgae species. Although GBHs cause deleterious effects such as the inhibition of photosynthetic activity, particularly at 250 μg·L−1, due to the impairment of the electron transport in the chloroplasts, these changes are almost completely reverted at the highest concentration (500 μg·L−1). This could be related to the induction of tolerance mechanisms at a certain threshold or tipping point. While no changes occurred in the energy balance, an increase in the pigment antheraxanthin is observed jointly with an increase in ascorbate peroxidase activity. These mechanisms might have contributed to protecting thylakoids against excess radiation and the increase in reactive oxygen species, associated with stress conditions, as no increase in lipid peroxidation products was observed. Furthermore, changes in the fatty acids profile, usually attributed to the induction of plant stress response mechanisms, demonstrated the high resilience of this macroalgae. Notably, the application of bio-optical tools in ecotoxicology, such as pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry and laser-induced fluorescence (LIF), allowed separation of the control samples and those treated by GBHs in different concentrations with a high degree of accuracy, with PAM more accurate in identifying the different treatments. Full article
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