You are on page 1of 8

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

EC50
100

Aninterestingapplicationof bioconcentration isin biomonitoring ofenvironmental exposureoforganismsto toxicants

Response (% of unmanipulated control)

80 60 50% effect 40 20 0 low

The lower the EC50 value, the more toxic the material

EC50

Concentration of toxicant

high

Twoapproachestobiomonitoring
1. introduceaknownquantityofagenetically purestrainintoanaturalenvironmentand monitortheirresponseovertime

Early warning chickensin GulfWarI

WinnipegFreePress 19February1991

Twoapproachestobiomonitoring
1. introduceaknownquantityofagenetically purestrainintoanaturalenvironmentand monitortheirresponseovertime 2. selectanaturallyoccurringorganismand observeitsresponsetopollution(indicator species)

Attributesofanindicatorspecies
widelydistributedandabundantwheretheyoccur easytoidentifyandcollect convenientsizeforanalysis sedentaryatmoststagesoftheirlifecycle easytoage containlevelsoftoxicantthatareneithersolowastomake chemicalanalysisdifficultnorsohighastoeitheraffectorkill individuals besuitableforlaboratorystudies belongtospeciesofaesthetic,economic,educational, scientific,orsportinginterest wherepossible,beamongstfirstspeciesaffectedbytoxicant

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Someexamplesof botanical biomonitoring selenium accumulationby Astragalus geobotanical prospecting usingcuprophilic mosses leaduptakeby tobaccoplants

Useofbiomonitoringwhen:
itisimpracticable(orimpractical)tomeasureall contaminants routineanalyticaltechniquesmaynotbesufficiently sensitive thebiologicalsignificanceofpollutants,atthelevels found,maynotbefullyknown combinationsofpollutantsmayinteract(synergism orantagonism) regularchemicalmeasurementsmaymiss occasional,significant,highvalues

Evenifconventionalanalysesarefeasible,itmightbe preferabletoanalyzebiologicaltissue:
sometoxicants,particularlyheavymetalsand organochlorines,bioconcentrate(greaterquantitythan innaturalenvironment),makingchemicalanalysesof livingtissuemucheasier analysisoforganismsmeasuretoxicantsavailability, whichismoreimportantforbiologicaleffectsthanto measuretotalamountoftoxicantinenvironment organismsintegratepollutionpresentoveraperiodof time

Regular,intermittentsamples misshighandlowperiods
sample collection

Concentration of pollutant in environment


assumed pollutant concentration over time (based on sampling) actual pollutant concentration over time

Time

EnglishWabagoonRiversystem

Elevatedblood mercury following consumptionof contaminated fish

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Earwax:
Thenextfrontforrandomdrugtesting?

Hairasabiomonitor
Humanhairgrowsata relativelyconstantrateof 0.35mm/day,soa5cm strandcorrespondsto about20weeksofgrowth

Earwaxpickingattheteagarden inChengdu,China

Randomspot checksmay becomethenorm!

MercuryinWetterhahn Hair

Arsenicin Napoleonshair

Nierenbergetal.NewEnglandJournalofMedicine,Vol 338,No23,page1672,4June1998.

Beethovenshair
samplepurchasedin1994by AmericandoctorCheGuevara andBeethovencollectorIra Brilliant hairsrangedinlength5to12 cm,implying4.5to12months growthpriortodeath noevidenceofopiates,asmight havebeenusedtohandlepain leadlevelsupto90 250ppm, averaging60ppm,comparedto modernlevelsof<1ppm

Beethovenshealth
composersuffered numeroushealth problems,especiallyin lastyearsoflife (includingdeafness!)
...Myhearinghasgrownsteadily worseoverthelastthreeyears,which wassaidtobecausedbythecondition ofmybelly... Excerptfromletter,29June1801

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Physiologicalmanifestationsof leadpoisoninginhumans
Blindness Cancer Constipation Convulsions Deafness Diabetes DigestiveUpsets Dyslexia Encephalitis Epilepsy Gout Hallucinations Hyperactivity Hyperkinesis Impotency Infertility Insomnia Libido,Depressed LiverDysfunction MenstrualProblems MultipleSclerosis Nephritis NeuromuscularDysfunctions Osteoarthritis Osteoporosis Pyorrhea RheumatoidArthritis ToothDecay VertigoorDizziness

Ecologicaltoxicology
Ecotoxicology Ecosystemleveltoxicologicalassessment

Levelsofbiologicalorganization
Genes/biochemicals Cells&tissues Organs&organsystems Organism Population Community Ecosystem(biotic&abiotic components)

AssessingEffectsintheField
Dolabbioassaysaccuratelyrepresentthe situationinthefield?
laboratorytestingoccursunderideal conditionsand ecosystemsaremostoftenexposedto mixturesofstressors,notsinglecompounds

Fieldstudiesallowforthedetectionof direct andindirect effects

IndirectEffects
alsocalledsecondaryeffects pollutantscanexerteffectsthrough ecologicalmechanisms singlespecieslaboratoryassayscannot detectthesetypesofchanges
directinfluencesonpredators/grazerscanlead tocascadingindirecteffectsonresistant speciesinothertrophic levels alsoaltercompetitiverelationshipwithin resistantportionsofproducerandconsumer communities

Ecotoxicology
ecotoxicology referstotheeffectsoftoxicants onpopulations,communities,andecosystems affectingecological relationshipsbetween organismsandtheirenvironment effectson:
foodqualityandavailability abiotic environmentalcharacteristics predator/preyrelationships others

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Someecotoxicological endpoints
populationabundance,production,range, extinction communityproductionandchange regionalproduction&decomposition,inputs andoutputs susceptibilitytopestoutbreaks,fire,flood, drought waterandairqualitystandards

Frequencyof wingphenotype inpeppered moths,Biston betularia

Causesofcarbonaria proliferation
gradualincreaseinabundanceofcarbonaria formdueto:
progressivedarkeningofsurfacesduetosoot emissions lossoflichencoverthatprovidedcamouflageto roostingmothsduetosulfur emissions

Relationshipofcarbonaria andlichen speciesrichness

Recoveryofmarkedindividualsoftwoformsofthe pepperedmoth,Biston betularia,fromtwositesinUK Site Form typica rural carbonaria typica urban carbonaria 601 205 34 473 201 30 32 6 16 No. No. % released recaptured recapture 496 62 13

Changeinphenotypicproportionsof pepperedmothsovertime

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Ecologicaleffects
Ecotoxicology Ecosystemleveltoxicologicalassessment

Ecosystemstructure&function
structure comprisesatleastthreeelements:
thetypesoforganisms(speciesrichness) therelativeproportionsofthevariousorganisms(species diversity) itshierarchicalorganization(trophic structure)

function measurestheprocessingofenergythrough thetrophic interactionsintheecosystem:


standingcrop(orbiomass)oftotalecosystemorindividual trophic levels rateofenergyflow(flux)betweencomponents: production(P)andrespiration(R)

Functionalredundancyprinciple
presupposesthat,forsustainablefunctioning ofanecosystem,adecreaseinbiodiversity canbetolerated thereisredundancyintherolesandfunctions ofthesurvivingpopulations redundancyisessentialtoecosystem existence,derivedfromanunpredictable environment e.g.,phytoplankton,periphyton& macrophytesareallprimaryproducers

Responsesofecosystemstostress
communityrespirationincreases P/Rratiobecomesunbalanced proportionofrselected(opportunistic) speciesincreases sizeoforganismsdecreases lifespansofdominantorganismsdecreases foodchainsshortenduetoreducedenergy flowtohighertrophiclevels speciesdiversitydecreases

Organismalversusecosystemic assessmentoftoxicity
Highaccuracy, Highprecision

Ability Consequences to assign of error in Ecological causation interpretation relevance

Temporal Cost of context Response acquiring of effect sensitivity knowledge short term fast (seconds to days)

high

low

low

low

organismal toxicity assessmentisprecise butusuallynotaccurate ecosystemic toxicity assessmentisaccurate butusuallynotprecise

biochemical molecule cell

organ

Highaccuracy, Lowprecision

individual

population

community

Lowaccuracy, Highprecision

ecosystem low high high long term slow (weeks to decades) high

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

Ecosystemlevelexperimentation
replicablemicrocosmsandmesocosms within singleecosystems

Microcosms

Microcosms

Microcosms

Chemicaladditiontoinsitu enclosures

Toxicology: Bioassays and Biomonitoring

2013

MarshEcologyResearchProgram
experimentalwetlandcells

Ecosystemlevelexperimentation
replicablemicrocosmsandmesocosms within singleecosystems wholeecosystemmanipulation

ExperimentalLakesArea(ELA)
establishedin1968inanareaeastofKenora, Ontariowith58relativelyundisturbedsmalllakes (1to84haarea) thelakesandtheirbasinshavebeensubjectedtoa seriesofadditionstoquantifyeffectsonaquatic ecosystemstructureandfunction someofthesemanipulationshaveincluded: nutrients(N,P) acids(nitric,sulphuric) toxicmetals(Cd,Hg)

Problemswith wholeecosystemmanipulation
wholesystemmaybetoolargeortoocomplexto studyinitsentirety themanipulationmaybetootimeconsumingortoo expensivetoperform documentationofecosystemstructure,function, andnaturalvariationpriortoexperimental manipulationisofteninadequate individualstressors(bothnaturalandmanipulative) maynotbeidentifiablefromothersoccurring concurrently