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Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837 850

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Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety

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Ecotoxicological assessment of water quality and ecosystem health:

A case study of the Volga River
T.I. Moiseenko a,, N.A. Gashkina a, Yu.N. Sharova b, L.P. Kudryavtseva c
Water Problems Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Gubkina 3, GSP-1, Moscow 119333, Russia
Institute of Water Problems of the North, Karelian Scientic Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, prosp. A. Nevskogo 50, Petrozavodsk 185003, Russia
Institute of Eco-Industrial Problems of the North, Kola Scientic Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Fersmana 14, Apatity 184200, Russia

a r t i c l e in fo abstract

Article history: A comprehensive assessment is presented of the ecotoxicological situation in the Volga River basin from
Received 26 February 2007 the viewpoint of ecosystem health. Concentrations of organic and inorganic toxic substances in water
Received in revised form are reported. Basic clinical and postmortem signs of sh intoxication are described; changes in the
24 January 2008 cellular structure of their organs and tissues, as well as disturbances in hemogenesis, developing under
Accepted 24 February 2008
the effect of toxic agents, are characterized. The comparative characteristics of several microelements
Available online 15 April 2008
(Ni, Cu, Sr, Al, Zn, Co, Mn, Pb, Cd, Hg, As) found in sh are presented. The main disturbances to sh
Keywords: caused by the accumulation of microelements in their organs and tissues are also considered. Based on
Ecotoxicological assessment
doseeffect dependencies calculated with respect to the total concentration of toxic substances,
Volga River
standardized to MPC, and sh health criteria, cases that exceed the critical levels of pollutants are
Water quality
demonstrated for the investigated river sections.
Metal bioaccumulation & 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fish pathology
Ecosystem health
Critical levels

1. Introduction water. Fish, in comparison with invertebrates, are more sensitive

to many toxicants and are a convenient test subject for indication
The most common approach to water quality assessment and of ecosystem health (Adams and Ryon, 1994; Wong and Dixon,
setting environmental regulations, in Russia and elsewhere, has 1995; Wrona and Cash, 1996; Simon, 2000; Whiteld and Elliott,
been based largely on the assessment of chemical attributes of 2002; Elliott et al., 2003; Moiseenko, 2005).
anthropogenic pollution and the concept of Maximum Permissible The Volga is the largest European river, with a catchment area
Concentration (MPC) (1999) or Guideline Concentration (GC). The of 1,360,000 km2. Large-scale contamination of the Volga River
ecotoxicological approach to the estimation of water quality and basin is caused by its geographical position within the most
ecosystem health is gradually becoming accepted by increasing economically developed region of Russia. The Volga River basin
numbers of researchers. Aquatic ecosystems are stressed at all contains 40% of the Russian human population, 45% of the
levels, ranging from the individual level to the population and countrys industry, and 50% of its agriculture. Domestic and
community (Cairns, 1990; Calow, 1992; Cash, 1995; Rapport, 1995; agricultural sewage water, industrial wastewaters and air-borne
Attrill and Depledge, 1997). pollution of the catchment area, as well as non-sewage efuents
Many groups of organisms can be used as indicators of from settlements, nd their way to this water basin. Several
environmental and ecological change, but numerous publications studies have demonstrated contamination of the water by heavy
attest that sh (in situ) are a good indicator of aquatic metals, oil products, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, biphenols,
environmental change and ecosystem health, especially in the dioxins, and other chemical compounds, especially where in-
case of toxic water pollution. Pathological changes in sh organs dustrial efuent is discharged (Rozenberg and Krasnoshchekov,
enable us to determine the toxicity of water contaminants and the 1996; Koronkevich and Zaitseva, 2003; State Report, 2003).
potential danger associated with anthropogenic substances in However, existing data on toxic contamination of water with
substances in the Volga River basin are discrepant for several
reasons, including differing time periods used for investigation
 Corresponding author. Fax: +7 495 135 33 20. and analysis, non-coincident sampling sites, and insufcient
E-mail address: (T.I. Moiseenko). capability of the measurement instruments used.

0147-6513/$ - see front matter & 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

838 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

Main objectives are as follows: species in the Volga River basin, was used as a bioindicator. It is a benthic sh that
does not make long-distance migrations, which enabled the collection of material
for examination from limited sections of the river.
 To identify the levels of contamination of the Volga River
water by toxic substancesmetals and organic micropollu- 2.1. Water chemistry

In total, 31 water samples were taken in 13 sections of the Volga River
 To study the accumulation of metals in sh as a consequence of
and reservoirs. Water samples were collected into Nalgens Polyethylene bottles
increased concentration of metals in the water environment. (1 l and 60 ml). Bottles were cleaned in the laboratory and rinsed twice with
 To reveal the main pathological manifestations of chronic lake water before sampling. After sampling, all samples were kept cool
intoxication in sh of the Volga River. (approximately +4 1C) in dark containers and were delivered to the laboratory
 To assess the ecotoxicological consequences of increased toxic within 13 days.
The analyses carried out on the water samples were as follows. The pH was
elements in water and the ecosystem health of Volga River on measured using a MetrohmspH-meter; conductivity (20 1C) by Metrohms-
the basis of the pathological investigation of sh. conductivity; alkalinity using the Gran titration method; and natural organic
 To discuss critical levels of water pollution, and compare them matter content by the Mn oxidation method. Microelement concentrations were
with existing levels of pollution. determined using the atomic-absorption in graphite furnace method (GFAAS;
Perkin-Elmer-5000 model, HGA-400, AAnalyst-800, Corp., Norwalk, USA). Hg
was determined using atomic uorescence (Fl; model Merlins). Standard solutions
with appropriate concentrations for each element were made from 1000 ppm AAS
2. Materials and methods stock standards (Merk, Darmstadt, Germany). In addition, for determination of Hg,
Mo, V, Se elemental analysis of the water was carried out by the inductively
In August and September 20002002, comprehensive ecotoxicological studies coupled plasma method using a Plasma Quad 3 mass-spectrometer manufac-
were carried out in 13 sections of the River Volga (Fig. 1): the Ivankovo reservoir (I, tured by Fisons Electronic Elemental Analysis (UK).
II, III) of the Upper Volga; the Gorki (IV, V, VI) and Kuibyshev reservoirs (VII, VIII) in Acidic and alkaline extractions of the water samples (in glass bottles) were
the Middle Volga; and the course (IX, X, XII) and delta (XII, XIII) of the Lower Volga. obtained with methylene chloride under eld conditions. Concentrations of
Water was sampled for determination of the concentrations of toxic substances organic micropollutants in these extracts were determined by gas chromatography
(metals and toxic organic compounds). Fish were examined to study their using a QP-5000 chromate-mass-spectrometer manufactured by Shimadzu
physiological state in order to reveal different forms of pathology and organ (Japan). The quality of the analytical results was repeatedly tested by inter-
dysfunction. Water samples were always taken at the precise sites where sh were comparisons during the course of the project (Hovind, 2000, 2002; Makinen et al.,
caught for examination. The bream Abramis brama (L.), the most widespread sh 2002).

Fig. 1. Location of the sections on the Volga River where the investigation was carried out.

T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 839

An integrated impact dose is determined by summing the excess for each revile The overall index of morbidity in sh in a given zone of contamination can be
concentration of toxic compound to their MPCshery as follows: presented as
X Ci
Itox1 , N 1 2N 2 3N 3
MPCfishery Z .
N tot
where Itox is the integrated toxicity index, Ci is the concentration registered in Here, Z is the morbidity index for sh, 0pZp3; N1, N2, and N3 are the numbers of
water, and MPCshery is the MPC for toxic substances accepted in Russia for shery sh in the rst, second, and third stages of the disease, respectively; and Ntot is the
and aquatic life. total number of sh examined in the local contamination zone, including healthy
According to Russian rules of water protection, the water quality may be individuals. If none of the sh in a given body of water demonstrates any signs of
considered good if Itox is no more than 1 (0oItox1p1). Water quality may be intoxication, then Z 0. The value of Z will increase with an increase in both the
considered good if Itox1 is no more than 1. number of sick sh and the severity of their diseases.

2.2. Bioaccumulation 2.4. Statistics

For determination of the metal content of the bodies of sh, subsamples from a Statistical data processing was carried out using the regression analysis; the
minimum of ve individual sh from every site were collected from the gills, liver, signicance of correlation coefcients was determinated by t-criteria.
kidneys, muscle, and skeleton. Samples of sh organs and tissues for metal
analyses were dried to their constant weight at 105 1C. Dry samples were prepared
for analysis by wet digestion in ultrapure nitric acid (10 ml acid for 1 g of tissue).
3. Results
The content of Ni, Co, Cd, Cr, Mn, Pb, Cu, Zn, Al, Sr in sh was determined on an
atomic-absorption spectrometer, using a graphite furnace HGA-400. Duplicate
analyses were used for the purpose of quality control. 3.1. Concentrations of toxic substances in water
In analyzing essential elements (Cu, Zn, Co) additional information about
climatic variation along Volga River was also used, that is sums of annual
temperature exceeding +10 1C taken from climatic map.
3.1.1. Metals and metalloids
The microelement concentrations in the water were relatively
2.3. Fish pathology low in the investigated river sections: the concentrations of Mo,
Cd, Co, and Cr were less than 1 mg/l, those of Se and Pb varied from
This was aimed at revealing the effects of toxic substances. Fish were studied less than 1 to 1.7 mg/l, those of Ni, V, and Cu varied from less than 1
at 13 river sections; the minimum number of sh observed was 50 of the same age to 2.8 mg/l; the concentration of Zn varied from 1 to 6.2 mg/l; and
(from 4+ to 6+ years old); all were free of internal parasites in the time period of that of As from 1 to 4.2 mg/l (Table 1). Relatively high concentra-
the investigation (August and early September).
tions of Mn and Sr were observed. The concentration of mercury
Blood samples are taken from live sh tail artery using methods described
elsewhere. In the blood samples thus taken, hemoglobin concentration, erythro- did not exceed the accuracy of its determination using our
cyte sedimentation rate (ESR), erythrocyte and leukocyte concentration. Blood technique (o0.05 mg/l).
smear examination allows the analysis of red blood composition, differential blood Relatively low concentrations of the investigated elements
count, and the detection of occurrence of pathologic blood corpuscles (Ivanova, (especially Zn, Ni, Cd, and Cu) can be explained by the absence of
1976a, b; Krylov, 1980a, b).
Macrodiagnostics to determine sh health were carried out under
ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgical plants in the region under
eld conditions. The clinical and pathological anatomical signs of intoxication consideration, as well as by the overall decrease in the level of
and any abnormalities were documented on the basis of visual examination Volga River water contamination observed after the recent
of the sh during the rst hour after shing. In the process of visual examination, economic crises. Comparison of the element concentrations in
special attention paid to the following: the intensity of color, the state
the Volga River with the respective background values for
of pigment (cellsmelanophores); the total amount of mucus on the sh body;
the state of squama, opercula, oral cavity, anus; the cases of hyperemia, overland ow in European Russia (Petrukhin et al., 1989; Burtseva
subcutaneous hemorrhages, sores, or hydremia of the body; deformation et al., 1991) showed that the concentration of As was higher than
of skull and skeleton bones; the state of eye crystalline lens and cornea. When its background value in all the investigated areas; the
the opercula are opened, branchiae are examined, in particular, their color, concentrations of Ni and Cd exceeded the background level near
the presence and the amount of mucus, the state of branchial petals (accretion,
adhesion, dilatation, or thinning down). After the abdominal cavity is
the dam of the Kuibyshev Reservoir; whereas the background
dissected, the state of sh muscles is studied (color, consistence, hemorrhages, concentrations of Cu and Se were exceeded in the central part of
attachment to bones), as well as the presence of exudate in the abdominal the Gorkii Reservoir. It is a well-known fact that zones of
cavity, the amount of cavitary fat, its color and density. The topographic atmosphere and land contamination can be found within the
location of viscera (liver, kidneys, gonads, spleen, heart, stomach, intestines), their
catchment areas of the Kuibyshev, Saratov, and Volgogradskoe
dimensions, color, density, edges, hemorrhages, zones of necrosis, etc., are studied.
Mucous membranes of dissected stomach and intestines are examined, in reservoirs, as well as in the Lower Volga (Koronkevich and
addition to cerebrum, paying special attention to lling of vessels, their color Zaitseva, 2003). This probably explains the exceeding of back-
and density. ground concentrations by such elements as V, Se, Pb, Ni, and Co.
For more precise microdiagnostics, the organs of sh with overt signs The concentration of Mn in the Ivankovo and Gorkii reservoirs, as
of pathology were removed for histological analysis. Histological sections
well as the concentrations of V and Cu in the Kuibyshev Reservoir,
were prepared in the laboratory according to the standard method (Bucke,
1994). For satisfactory histological preparations, only freshly killed sh were the Lower Volga and the Volga River delta, were higher than the
considered. Gills, kidneys, liver, and gonads were handled rapidly to prevent respective MPC values (List of Fishery Standards, 1999), estab-
degenerative changes within the specimen. They were carefully dissected from the lished for shery water bodies.
body, cut into blocks of o1 cm3 and placed in a xative (Bouins uid).
Thus, the pattern of element concentration distribution within
Histopathological alterations of organs were evaluated under a light microscope
(450  ). Diagnosis of disease was conrmed on the basis of histopathological the investigated areas reects, primarily, overall diffuse pollution,
observations. The percentage of sick sh in the stock of each local polluted zone which is formed against the background of the natural geochem-
was documented. ical input of microelements and is mainly due to pollutant
Fish were detected at various stages of disease ranging from initially discharge by fuel and energy plants and general economic activity
insignicant pathological organ changes to serious compromise of the organism.
within the catchment area.
In the process of macrodiagnostics, three stages of disease can be identied (0
denotes healthy individuals):
3.2. Toxic organic compounds

(1) Low-level disturbance, not threatening the life of the sh. Dangerous organic substances include oil products, cyclohex-
(2) Medium-level disturbances, causing a critical state in the organism. ane and cyclopentadiene and their derivatives, sebacic acid ether,
(3) Distinct signs of intoxication leading to inevitable death of the organism. xylene, phthalates, and dioxanes (Table 2). A high level of water

840 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

Table 1
Concentration of microelements and their MPC values (mg/l) and also pH, conductivity (w), calcium in water of Volga River

Parameter, element Upper Volga Middle Volga Lower Volga MPC

X MinMax X MinMax X MinMax

pH 7.7 7.57.9 6.8 6.27.0 7.4 6.88.0

w (mSm/sm) 195 165268 255 226280 364 357387
Ca (mg/l) 29 2540 36 3238 35 3237
Hg o0.05 o0.05 o0.05 0.01
Cd 0.13 0.080.20 0.13 o0.020.62 0.13 0.020.26 5
Pb 0.46 0.020.80 o0.02 1.72 1.003.20 6
Al 272.3 190400 31.7 8.2070.9 820.5 4401480 300
Sr 101.1 85.0120 190.8 95.7289 521.3 469568 400
Ni 1.78 1.202.50 1.72 o0.55.58 2.22 1.603.30 10
Mn 101.6 72.0150 62.4 12.9111 27.7 22.735.7 10
Zn 3.73 1.305.40 1.36 o15.11 5.58 2.608.70 10
Cu 2.14 1.203.80 2.21 0.945.68 1.70 1.302.30 1
Cr 0.83 0.291.70 0.75 0.491.18 0.60 0.470.75 70
Co 0.31 o0.20.60 0.16 0.140.19 0.60 0.301.30 10
As 2.8 1.84.7 1.0 0.71.4 1.8 1.23.2 50
Mo 0.20 0.160.23 0.62 0.430.82 0.43 0.380.49 1
V 1.36 0.981.65 1.21 0.851.71 2.35 1.952.59 1
Se 0.50 o0.50.55 0.84 o0.51.16 0.81 o0.51.17 2

Dash () denotes the values below the detection limit; here and in Tables 24, X is the average value; Min is the minimum value; Max is the maximum value.

Table 2
Concentration of toxic organic substances and their MPC values (mg/l) in water of Volga River

Toxic organic substances Upper Volga Middle Volga Lower Volga MPC

X MinMax X MinMax X MinMax

Hydrocarbons of oil products

Alkanes 12.0 1.4519.3 31.4 6.2114 10.0 0.917.7
Alkenes 0.1 00.4 1.6 0.74.0 0.5 0.21.8

Total 12.1 1.4519.7 33.0 6.2118 10.5 0.919.5 50

Monatomic saturated alcohols 0.8 02.0 1.3 05.1 1.1 0.14.6 500

Ethers of carboxylic acids

Dioctyl cebacate 3.9 011.6 0 0 0 0 1

Carbocyclic compounds
Cyclohexane and its derivatives 0 0 0 0 0.1 00.8 10
Cyclopentadiene and its derivatives 0 0 0 0 0.4 01.0 10

Aromatic compounds
Xylene 0.3 01.0 1.3 02.5 0.5 0.21.3 50
Isopropyl benzene 0 0 0 0 0.1 002 100

Orthophthalic acids ethers

Dibutyl phthalate 2.8 1.34.5 25.2 5.755.7 32.1 9.644.5 1
Dioctyl phthalate 11 4.017.7 18.6 047.2 1.1 0.52.3 10

Heterocyclic compounds
Derivatives of 1,3-dioxane 0 0 27.6 2.081.7 0 0 10

Sum of chlororganic pesticides (DDT, DDE, 0 0 0.01 00.04 0 0 0.01

a-hexachloran, g-hexachloran)

contamination with alkyl derivatives of dioxane was revealed in chemical enterprises located upstream of the Gorkii Reservoir
the Gorkii Reservoir. Owing to large-scale application of polymer near Yaroslavl city.
products, phthalates (used as plasticizing agents), and xylene Dangerous substances such as chlororganic compounds were
(used for phthalic acid production) were observed in all the not found in the investigated sites, which could be explained by
investigated sections of the Volga River (especially in the Gorkii their absence from the water or by their low concentrations (not
Reservoir and the delta downstream of Astrakhan). Dibutyl exceeding the sensitivity threshold of the applied method).
phthalate, whose concentration in the water varied from 1.3 to Analysis of scientic papers and data collected by the Hydro-
55.7 mg/l (its MPC for sheries is only 1 mg/l), deserves special meteorological Service of Russia has shown that, in individual
attention. samples of Volga water, the concentrations of certain dangerous
The MPC for oil products was not exceeded in the investigated substances (such as DDT, DDE, alpha-, and gamma-hexachloran)
sections of the Volga River except near the dam of the Gorkii exceed the MPC. In 2002, these substances were also found in the
Reservoir, which is probably affected by efuents from petro- Kuibyshev Reservoir (State Report, 2003).

T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 841

Thus, both organic and inorganic pollutants, for which the the concentration of Pb in bream muscles was higher: 1.6 mg/g dry
Toxicological Harmfulness Value has been established, are found weight (Farkas et al., 2003).
in the Volga River water.
4.4. Aluminum

4. Metals in sh as a reection of water pollution According to data from Rosseland et al. (1990), a high
concentration of Al in the environment (both in dissolved and
The concentrations of metals in sh can reect levels of suspended forms) ensures its intense accumulation in sh (espe-
pollution more accurately than the indices of contaminant cially in the gills). The maximum concentration of Al in the water
content in water (Moore and Rammamoorthty, 1983; Spry and and in organs and tissues of bream was observed in the Lower Volga
Wiener, 1991; Moiseenko and Kudryavtseva, 2002). A group of (Tables 1 and 3). Accumulation of Al could be traced in all the body
non-essential elements (Hg, Cd, and Pb) is most dangerous for systems of sh, but the highest concentrations of this metal were
living organisms. The concentrations of these metals in the observed in the gills and skeleton. Bioaccumulation of Al in these
environment is increasing steadily (Dirilgen and Dogan, 2002; organs is demonstrated by the following regression equations:
Friedmann et al., 2002; Gochfeld, 2003; Moiseenko et al.,
Algills 0:072 Alwater 22:4; r 0:90; po0:001,
2006a, b).
Alskeleton 0:007 Alwater 7:19; r 0:74; po0:01.
4.1. Mercury
The close dependence of Al in sh gills on Al in water can be
explained by the fact that, in the process of breathing, water is
The concentration of Hg in bream organs and tissues varied ltered through the gills of the sh, and Al settles onto the gill
from less than 0.001 to 0.127 mg/g dry weight (Table 3). This metal surface. Coagulation of Al on the surface of the gill epithelium, in
accumulates most intensely in the liver, kidneys, and muscles, as addition to its inclusion in epithelial cells, has been demonstrated
conrmed by data presented in the scientic literature (Moore (Rosseland et al., 1990).
and Rammamoorthty, 1983; Friedmann et al., 2002; Gochfeld,
2003). The highest concentrations of Hg were revealed in bream
4.5. Strontium
caught in several sections of the Middle Volga, which is subject to
the heaviest anthropogenic load. Comparison of the data obtained
This element participates in metabolic processes with Ca.
by the authors with those from other scientic papers showed
Being more labile and active, Sr gradually disturbs the normal
that the limits within which the concentration of Hg in bream
calcication of the skeleton and causes pathological disturbances
muscles and liver can vary are comparable with those determined
in bone tissue (Chowdhuury et al., 2000).
for Lake Balaton (Farkas et al., 2003) and certain water bodies in
The highest concentration of Sr in bream inhabiting the Volga
the Czech Republic (Svobodova et al., 1999). Similar values were
basin was found in the Lower Volga sections, where the
cited for certain freshwater and sea sh inhabiting water bodies of
concentration of Sr in the water was maximal (Table 3), reaching
the USA (Watras et al., 1998).
1500 mg/g dry weight in sh skeleton and 1100 mg/g dry weight in
the gills. Sr accumulates not only in sh bones but also in sh
4.2. Cadmium muscles, liver, and kidneys. The dependence of the Sr content of
bream organs and tissues on its concentration in water can be
The literature cites a high degree of Cd accumulation in living approximated by the following equations:
organisms, which is indicative of environmental pollution on local
Srgills 1:52 Srwater  25:0; r 0:99; po0:001,
and regional scales (Conto-Cinier et al., 1997). The most intense
accumulation of Cd in all the physiological systems of sh was Srmuscles 0:026 Srwater 2:98; r 0:74; po0:01,
observed for those inhabiting the Lower Volga (Table 3). The
accumulation of Cd in sh muscles testies to long-term pollution Srliver 0:003 Srwater 0:191; r 0:79; po0:005,
of the body of water with this metal (McGeer et al., 2000). The
maximum Cd concentration (up to 5.66 mg/g dry weight) was Srkidneys 0:006 Srwater 0:672; r 0:95; po0:001,
recorded in the kidney. Unfortunately, there are few studies
devoted to the analysis of accumulation of this metal in sh Srskeleton 1:94 Srwater  73:6; r 0:98; po0:001.
kidneys. The concentration of Cd in sh kidneys closely correlates It should be emphasized that the Sr/Ca ratio in water varied along
with its concentration in other systems of the sh organism, such the river course; it was 1/289 in the Upper Volga, 1/186 in the
as the liver (r 0.78, po0.005), skeleton (r 0.71, po0.01), and Middle Volga, and 1/66 in the Lower Volga water. In addition to the
gills (r 0.56, po0.1), which demonstrates penetration of Cd into increase in the absolute value of Sr concentration in the water from
the sh from contaminated water. the Upper to the Lower Volga, its relative concentration in sh
organisms increased even more, which testies to the replacement
4.3. Lead of Ca by Sr in bream bones. For example, the Sr/Ca ratio in bream
gills was 1/516 in the Upper; 1/266 in the Middle; and 1/83 in the
The maximum concentration of Pb in bream was observed in Lower Volga. The respective values for bream skeleton were 1/798,
the Upper and Middle Volga (Table 3). Pb is most intensely 1/384, and 1/116. Thus, Sr features a high bioaccumulation capacity.
accumulated by the kidneys, liver, and muscle (the respective
concentrations were up to 1.3, 0.75, and 0.18 mg/g dry weight). It is 4.6. Nickel
difcult to explain why, under conditions of a higher concentra-
tion of Pb in the Lower Volga water, the maximum accumulation The concentration of this metal in the muscles and liver of
of this element was observed in sh inhabiting the Upper and bream inhabiting the Volga River did not exceed 0.60 mg/g dry
Middle Volga. This is probably a manifestation of the cumulative weight; for kidneys, the value was somewhat higher (Table 3). Ni
effect of river contamination in previous years. In Lake Balaton, accumulates intensely in sh, mainly in the gills and kidneys

842 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

Table 3
Concentration of microelements in the organs and tissues of the investigated breams (mg per 1 g of dry weight)

Element (1) Upper Volga Middle Volga Lower Volga

X7Sx (2) MinMax (3) X7Sx (4) MinMax (5) X7Sx (6) MinMax (7)

Hg 0.01170.001 0.0050.022 0.01170.002 0.0040.035 0.00570.001 0.0010.015
Cd 0.0570.01 0.010.19 0.0170.00 0.010.04 0.2070.03 0.050.42
Pb 0.3370.07 0.050.46 0.0470.01 o0.010.16 0.0770.01 o0.010.17
Al 52.976.7 14.7110.3 9.3870.91 4.3817.3 106.6715.2 34.6199
Sr 12874 96163 299724 167458 790746 3941095
Ni 0.2370.03 0.030.48 1.3270.32 0.304.79 1.1870.14 0.402.36
Mn 89.075.1 52134 61.573.4 45.087.2 28.971.4 18.039.0
Zn 82.071.7 67.494.2 81.271.8 72.390.6 81.471.5 75.594.4
Cu 2.3170.07 1.602.82 1.9570.08 1.312.63 4.2270.29 2.916.99
Cr 0.2870.04 0.040.66 0.1470.01 0.060.25 0.7070.14 0.212.08
Co 0.1070.02 o0.010.30 0.5570.05 0.170.83 0.3270.07 o0.010.98

Hg 0.01970.003 o0.0010.041 0.04970.005 0.0230.092 0.03170.004 0.0140.066
Cd 0.0370.01 o0.010.09 o0.01 o0.010.02 0.0470.02 o0.010.22
Pb 0.0770.02 o0.010.18 0.0670.01 o0.010.13 0.0270.00 o0.010.06
Al 4.1770.54 0.917.16 1.5470.18 0.652.79 2.3870.27 1.064.11
Mn 4.1070.38 1.026.89 3.1270.19 1.984.44 1.2470.15 0.332.43
Ni 0.1370.03 o0.010.51 0.2270.02 0.100.43 0.2670.03 0.120.60
Sr 4.6370.27 2.796.21 9.7471.08 5.1519.3 16.273.28 1.4042.2
Zn 17.570.50 14.121.7 20.070.9 15.325.9 25.071.2 17.132.5
Cu 0.6770.03 0.400.91 0.7570.07 0.341.24 1.0770.07 0.671.61
Cr 0.1070.02 o0.010.34 0.0470.01 o0.010.10 0.1870.03 0.050.48
Co 0.0370.01 o0.010.10 0.1870.02 0.010.28 0.1570.02 0.020.30

Hg 0.05370.005 0.0270.086 0.04870.009 0.0110.127 0.05470.010 0.0010.103
Cd 0.2570.04 o0.010.67 0.2670.04 0.110.69 0.3570.06 0.010.59
Pb 0.2570.07 0.010.75 0.1970.04 0.040.66 0.0670.01 0.010.15
Al 6.6271.01 1.5915.7 6.5571.02 1.8614.1 6.0670.92 3.0514.3
Sr 0.5370.08 0.161.53 0.8270.12 0.051.66 1.8170.55 0.468.03
Ni 0.2070.04 o0.010.56 0.1970.03 0.030.41 0.3370.04 0.120.63
Mn 8.2770.34 5.7211.1 6.9370.38 4.978.94 6.2370.44 3.569.00
Zn 99.775.4 51143 79.676.4 51140 110710 58205
Cu 46.774.4 7.479.8 35.577.5 10.3114.2 89.3710.4 29.8155
Cr 0.1970.05 o0.010.73 0.0770.01 0.020.16 0.2070.04 0.020.50
Co 0.0970.01 o0.010.27 0.2170.03 0.060.43 0.1670.02 o0.010.32

Hg 0.02270.003 0.0130.040 0.03070.003 0.0150.058 0.01270.002 0.0040.027
Cd 1.0970.19 0.313.56 1.9470.28 0.731.93 3.2170.30 1.785.66
Pb 0.3770.12 0.031.31 0.4870.10 0.161.31 0.1370.02 0.050.24
Al 5.8371.05 1.9214.1 6.4471.26 1.0616.6 5.9670.75 2.3910.6
Sr 1.3170.21 0.483.66 1.8670.39 0.405.96 3.7170.37 1.826.56
Ni 0.7670.10 0.271.71 0.8370.14 0.281.99 1.1070.14 0.442.35
Mn 6.2870.30 4.358.64 5.2370.53 2.388.03 3.4970.31 1.185.75
Zn 93.771.8 78112 86.673.0 59107 88.173.0 63106
Cu 5.3870.35 4.2510.64 5.7570.37 2.537.95 5.7070.43 3.189.62
Cr 0.3970.10 o0.011.18 0.1570.05 o0.010.73 0.6270.09 0.141.26
Co 0.9570.09 0.401.87 1.3070.14 0.502.09 1.3870.09 0.811.83

Hg 0.02970.004 0.0100.059 0.00670.001 0.0020.015 0.00870.001 0.0020.014
Cd 0.0770.01 o0.010.15 0.0170.00 o0.010.02 0.2970.06 0.060.77
Pb 0.2170.05 0.060.61 0.0870.02 o0.010.26 0.0870.01 0.010.19
Al 7.9371.02 2.9415.9 7.7471.14 2.0418.6 14.571.68 8.3127.5
Sr 12979 78199 330726 177457 973763 5981531
Ni 0.1270.03 o0.010.40 0.3670.02 0.240.55 0.6170.10 0.221.50
Mn 57.172.6 36.078.0 54.274.7 26.485.6 26.570.9 19.931.0
Zn 63.472.7 44.788.9 64.771.9 53.376.2 71.371.9 60.786.5
Cu 0.9170.16 0.412.59 0.4470.05 0.110.77 2.5570.05 2.272.88
Cr 0.0970.02 o0.010.27 0.0970.02 o0.010.24 0.1270.02 o0.010.30
Co 0.0170.00 o0.010.05 0.3770.07 0.080.99 0.1370.06 o0.010.66

Sx is the standard error.

(Moiseenko and Kudryavtseva, 2002). The ability of this metal to Nimuscles 0:086 Niwater 0:058; r 0:82; po0:005,
accumulate is conrmed by the regression dependencies between
the concentration of Ni in the water and in Volga bream organs
Niliver 0:051 Niwater 0:155; r 0:73; po0:01,
and tissues (with the exception of the skeleton):

Nigills 0:343 Niwater 0:197; r 0:68; po0:025, Nikidneys 0:206 Niwater 0:477; r 0:76; po0:01.

T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 843

Thus, the accumulation of Ni in sh organisms depends on its between the concentrations of the above elements in the sh
concentration in the water, but the concentration of this metal in organs and in water.
the water and sh of the Volga River is low.
4.9. Multimetal penetration

4.7. Manganese
The accumulation of microelements in sh organs and tissues
causes microelementoses, i.e., changes in the ratio of microele-
Mn is usually considered to be of low toxicity. According to ment concentrations in sh organs and tissues. A high correlation
Musibono and Day (1999), Mn reduces the toxicity of such was established between the concentrations of certain elements
elements as Cu and Al, i.e., Mn possesses antagonistic properties in the bream organs, which testies to the effect of pollution on
in multicomponent water contamination. Mn is irregularly the increase in the concentrations of the investigated microele-
distributed in the Volga River water: the concentration of Mn in ments in sh gills:
the Upper Volga was much higher than in the Lower. The
concentration of Mn in sh organisms changes similarly: the Sr ! r 0:87; po0:001 Cd ! r 0:96; po0:001
most intense accumulation of Mn was observed in bream Al ! r 0:78; po0:005 Cr,
inhabiting the Upper Volga, and the maximum amount of this
and in sh kidneys:
metal was found in the bream gills and skeleton (Table 3). A
signicant correlation was revealed between the concentration of Cr ! r 0:53; po0:1 Sr ! r 0:75; po0:01
Mn in sh organisms and in the respective water (for gills: Cd ! r 0:55; po0:1 Ni
r 0.68, po0.025; for muscles: r 0.67, po0.025; for liver:
! r 0:72; po0:05 Co.
r 0.61, po0.05). A close correlation was also revealed between
the values of Mn concentration in different tissues and organs of This group of elements accumulates mainly in sh inhabiting the
the same sh individual, which testies to synchronous bioaccu- Lower Volga. Accumulation in sh liver of Hg-(r 0.61)Zn is
mulation of this metal depending on its concentration in the observed in the Middle Volga, whereas accumulation of Mn-
water. (r 0.59)Pb in sh gills and liver is typical of the Upper Volga.
Bone tissues in the investigated sh demonstrated a high
degree of correlation between the concentrations of the following
4.8. Zinc, chromium, copper, and cobalt elements:
Pb ! r 0:66; po0:025 Hg
These are essential elements. No distinct patterns could be
! r 0:79; po0:005 Ni:
traced in the distributions of Zn, Cr, and Co concentrations in the
Volga River water. As a rule, Cu, Zn, and Co accumulate in sh "
liver, where active metabolic processes take place. Their max- Cd ! r 0:79; po0:005 Cu
imum concentration was found in the livers of Lower Volga bream ! r 0:87; po0:0015 Sr:
(Table 3). #
It is well established that the rate of metabolic processes in sh r 0:76; po0:01 Zn
is determined by the ambient temperature. If the concentrations
of microelements in the water are similar, the rate of their The correlations established between the concentrations of
bioaccumulation can depend on the temperature conditions. The essential and non-essential microelements prove their joint
availability of essential elements to functionally vital organs of penetration into the sh organism as a result of multimetal
bream inhabiting the Lower Volga is probably affected by the pollution. Based on the analysis of the element distributions in
intensication of metabolic processes in warmer water. A bream and the joint penetration of certain microelements into
correlation was found between the concentrations of Cu, Zn, and them, SrCdAlCrNi anthropogenic hydrogeoformation can be
Co in sh muscles and the sum of annual temperatures exceeding singled out in the Lower Volga; HgZn hydrogeoformation in the
10 1C (Fig. 2), whereas no such correlation could be established Middle Volga; and MnPb hydrogeoformation in the Upper Volga.

29 0.25



21 0.1
19 y = 0.005x + 8.89
y = 0.0003x + 0.186
r = 0.884 y = 1E-10x2.64
0.6 r = 0.722 0.05
17 p<0.001 r = 0.708
15 0.4 0
1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000
t>10C t>10C t>10C
Fig. 2. Dependence of essential element concentrations in muscles (mg per 1 g of dry weight) on the sum of temperature values exceeding +10 1C ( t410 1C).

844 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

5. Fish pathology the sh) and Kuibyshev (up to 54.5% of the sh) reservoirs, as well
as in certain sections of the Lower Volga (Table 4).
Various deviations from the physiological norm were found in Morphological and functional changes in the liver manifested
all the sh of investigated river sections. themselves in the form of lipoid dystrophy (Fig. 4b) and hydropic
dystrophy (Fig. 4c), which are symptoms of progressive hepato-
pathy. In the case of intensied intoxication, lipid and hydropic
5.1. Gills
dystrophy of hepatocytes were often found. Hydropic dystrophy is
a variation of protein dystrophy and is related to the disturbance
In some cases, the gills were pale (their normal color is scarlet)
of protein and water exchange. In this case, the permeability of
with a clearly distinct anemic ring along the gill arc. The largest
cell membranes increases, vacuoles appear in the cytoplasm due
number of sh with an anemic ring was caught in the Gorkii
to water ingress, the cellular organelles are destroyed, while the
Reservoir and in the Lower Volga (downstream of Astrakhan).
cell itself becomes lled with water and dies. In the case of lipoid
Epithelium desquamation in secondary lamellae (Fig. 3c),
dystrophy, fat occlusions, which almost completely ll the cells,
swelling of the distal parts of laments, and shortening, curvature,
appear in the hepatocytes. Diffuse disruptions of bream liver,
and fusion of secondary lamellae (Fig. 3b) were observed, which
accompanied by disturbances in the morphological structure of
resulted in the transformation of the rigidly structured gill into an
liver lobules and pronounced necrosis of liver tissue, were also
unstructured mass, with the distal lament alone still functioning.
Congestive phenomena (stasis) were found in most of the
Mechanisms of lipoid and protein dystrophy development are
respiratory lamellae, which is related to the violation of capillary
similar. Frequently, they develop under the conditions of the
conductivity. Vast hemorrhages were observed between laments
organism intoxication or accompany hypoxia. In some micro-
and secondary lamellae (Fig. 3d). In certain laments, the
scopic sections, complete necrosis (not that of a hotbed
secondary lamellae were completely destroyed. Extensive lam-
character) of the liver tissue was observed (Fig. 4d). Interstitial
melar hypertrophy with some proliferation from the bases of the
proliferative inammation related to hepatocyte necrosis and the
secondary lamellae was recorded.
appearance of inammation inltrates were also diagnosed. In the
process of their development, the cells of the inltrates transform
5.2. Liver into collagenous bres of connective tissue. As a result, a thick
connective-tissue capsule can appear around the zone of necrosis.
Changes in the liver color, dimensions, and texture were Such progressive necrosis and structural reorganization of the
observed. All the bream caught in different river sections had tissue can contribute to post-necrotic hepatic cirrhosis, leading, in
increased loose-textured liver with color varying from a mosaic turn, to hepatic failure. Vast zones of parenchymal hemorrhage,
light-brown to pale yellow. In some cases, the liver was liquied; destruction of blood corpuscles and blood vessel walls, as well as
it had clearly distinct parts of necrosis or pronounced signs of proliferation of connective tissue around the blood vessels, were
atrophy. All the examined sh demonstrated signs of liver disease revealed.
of differing degrees of severity. Frequent visible disturbances of Signs of chronic congestive hyperemia in liver veins were
this organ were typical of sh caught in the Gorkii (up to 92.6% of found. They testify to varicose veins and capillaries, a decrease in

Fig. 3. Pathological changes in the gills of bream (arrowed): anormal structure (Flament, Llamellae),  160; bextensive lamellar hyperplasia with fusion of
secondary lamellae,  320; cseparation of epidermis at base of secondary lamellae,  320; and dhemorrhage, 160.

T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 845

Table 4
Characteristics of the physiological state of shes caught in the Volga River

Parameter, element Upper Volga Middle Volga Lower Volga

X MinMax X MinMax X MinMax

Z 1.54 1.331.71 1.97 1.712.11 1.45 1.001.74

Percentage of the shes demonstrating second and third stages of the disease 44.3 37.752.4 72.9 53.685.2 41.8 20.064.1
Percentage of the shes demonstrating pathological disturbances in the liver 56.5 41.064.3 68.4 46.492.6 29.5 18.244.4
Percentage of the shes demonstrating pathological disturbances in the kidneys 25.4 21.428.6 59.9 32.180.0 9.4 025.6
Hemoglobin (Hb) (mg/l) 103 81124 96 52126 88 56122
Percentage of the shes with Hb not exceeding 90 mg/l 15.2 037.5 22.0 11.840.0 54.3 9.180.0

Lymphocytes (%) 87.5 8293 85.8 6894 64.7 2993
Monocytes (%) 1.0 02 1.5 05 3.7 010
Neutrophiles (%) 11.3 514 12.6 529 31.6 666
Including foamy (%) 7.7 211 6.0 120 16.2 334

Mature forms (%) 94.1 89.996.6 94.1 85.599.9 92.6 76.199.8
Young cells (%) 5.9 3.410.1 5.9 0.114.5 7.4 0.223.9

Fig. 4. Pathological changes in the liver of bream (arrowed),  320: anormal structure; blipoid dystrophy; chydropic dystrophy; dkaryopycnosis and necrosis of
hepatocytes; einammation; and fbreakdown of blood cells.

blood pressure, and blood ow deceleration. As a result, the connective-tissue accretions substituted zones of necrosis in the
supply of the tissues with blood becomes disturbed, and tissue canaliculi and interstitial tissue. In medicine, similar histopathol-
hypoxia occurs. All these processes taking place together can lead ogy is typical of interstitial nephritis (broelastosis). In the
to congestive edema. Disturbances revealed in the liver cell connective tissue between the kidney canaliculi, pronounced
structure entail the development of rst sclerosis, and then interstitial inammation (a diffuse inltrate composed of blood
cirrhosis. cells) was observed (Fig. 5f). Signs of congestive hyperemia in the
veins were revealed. Severe degeneration of adipose tissue was
also diagnosed (Fig. 5d). In this case, the adipose tissue had a
5.3. Kidneys clearly formed structure; lipocytes were organized in groups
(lobules, separated from each other by membranes with blood
The largest number of sh with pathological disturbances in vessels). The following disturbances were found: destruction
the kidneys was caught in certain areas of the Gorkii and of lymphoid tissue (Fig. 5b); proliferative inammation (Fig. 5c),
Kuibyshev reservoirs (Table 4). Pathological disturbances in the with zones of necrosis surrounded by thick connective-
kidney tissue manifested themselves in brosis, where vast tissue capsules, separating the disturbed zone from normally

846 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

Fig. 5. Pathological changes in kidneys of bream (arrowed),  320: anormal structure; bnecrosis of the hematopoietic tissue; cproliferative inammation with
brosis of the hematopoietic tissue; dlipoid degeneration; einterstitial inammation; and fhemorrhage.

functioning tissue and preventing the proliferation of pathology; the leukogram of the bream manifested themselves in an increase
and the occurrence of interstitial substances in the kidney in the relative amount of neutrophils and monocytes, especially in
parenchyma (Fig. 5b), causing compression of healthy tissue, sh from certain sections of the Lower Volga and the Gorkii
which, in the long run, can lead to the organ atrophy. Reservoir (Table 4). In the blood smears, different pathological
forms of erythrocytes (lacy erythrocytes, poikilocythemia, vacuo-
5.4. Gonads lization of the cytoplasm, pycnosis of the cell nuclei, amitosis of
the cell nuclei, etc.) were found. The changes revealed in
hematological parameters of the examined sh conrm the
At the time of the examination, gonads were at stages IIIII of
development of toxicoses in sh inhabiting the Volga River basin.
development. In some cases, their form and texture were
Thus, shes caught in the Volga basin had visible clinic and
abnormal. Their growth was uneven. Some parts of gonads were
postmortem symptoms of intoxication. The degree of distur-
replaced by non-functional connective tissue. Twisting of the
bances in their organs varied from hardly visible to pronounced
gonads was typical, mostly in males. In females, uneven develop-
deep degenerative changes, increasing the risk of death of the
ment of sh eggs was observed.

5.5. Hematology
6. Discussion and conclusion
Pathology developed simultaneously with disturbances in
vitally important organs of the sh. The norm of hematological Our results show that water quality and living conditions for
indices is different for each sh species. According to the data aquatic species in the Volga River are unsatisfactory. Based on the
presented by Zhiteneva et al. (1989), the concentration of prevalence of signs of intoxication in test-organism sh (A. brama
hemoglobin in the blood of healthy bream varies from 92.0 to (L.), we can conclude that the ecosystem health conditions are
101.0 g/l. A 1530% decrease in hemoglobin concentration is a quite dramatic and give a clear signal of the need to decrease toxic
signal of sh disease, which can be caused by both invasive and pollution.
toxic agents. For bream inhabiting the Volga River basin, a value of The main question for environmental management is the level
90 g/l is adopted as the lower boundary of the norm of natural to which pollution loading must be reduced to achieve reference
variability in hemoglobin concentration. The largest number of conditions and to preserve ecosystem health.
sh whose hemoglobin concentration was lower than the norm, To answer this question, we need to accomplish three tasks
was caught in a certain site of the Lower Volga and in the Gorkii (Moiseenko et al., 2006a, b):
Toxic substances affect not only hemoglobin concentration but 1. Determinate how hydro-chemical information on water qual-
also change the leukogram and red blood cell composition ity can be interpreted in terms of a unied parameter, which
(Ivanova, 1976a, b; Zhiteneva et al., 1989). Studies have shown could reect the real impacts of the dose taking into account
that, in different sites of the Volga River, the ratio between contaminant complexes (multipollution).
different forms of blood cells of bream changes. The highest 2. Assign criteria for ecosystem health that informatively reect
percentage of immature forms of erythrocytes was found in blood the impacts of pollution.
smears of sh caught in the Lower Volga, which is in agreement 3. Determine critical levels of water pollution and required load
with the low hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Changes in reductions based on a doseeffect relationship.

T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 847

6.1. An integrated impact dose based on the physiological reactions through disturbing the
homeostasis and proper functioning of vital biological processes.
In rivers and reservoirs, aquatic organisms are exposed to a Determination of the critical levels of water contamination
mixture of all toxicants. It is important to nd a numerical requires numerical biological criteria, which also adequately
parameter describing the total toxic impact on sh. The integrated reect the effect of toxic substances in the water. Thus, the
impact dose of contaminants is determined by their number, following biological parameters were used as criteria for sh and
concentration, toxic properties of each and aquatic mediumpH, ecosystem health (the average weighted for individual river
Ca, TOC (Forstner and Wittman, 1983). The values of Maximum sections):
Permeation Concentrations (MPC) largely differ by country, in
spite of the fact that experimental research techniques to (i) the percentage of sh in which the second or third stages of
establish the MPCs are universal. In Russia, the MPC values for diseases were diagnosed;
Cu, V, and some other elements are possibly underestimated, (ii) the Z-index dened above;
whereas the MPCs for Cd, As and some other elements are (iii) the percentage of sh with hemoglobin concentration below
possibly overestimated. For example, in Canada for Cu and Cd 90 g/l; and
guideline values are 24 and 0.010.06 mg/l, respectively, in (iv) the low levels of neutrophils in the blood, etc.
dependence of CaCO3, for As it is equal 5 mg/l; in the Netherlands
the MPC value for Cu, V, and Cd are 3.8, 5.1, and 2 mg/l, respectively
6.3. Dose effect dependencies and critical levels
(Canadian Water Quality Guidelines, 1994; Environmental Quality
Objectives for Hazardous Substances in Aquatic Enviroment,
Basing on doseeffect dependencies (between numerical
2001; Bioassey Methods for Aquatic Organisms, 1985; Methodo-
indices of sh health and the chemical parameters of water
logical Recommendations, 1998). Because the Volga River is in
quality, in particular the total concentration of toxic substances in
Russia we used data on the toxicological properties of each
the water standardized to MPC), the critical levels of water
toxicant based on the MPC adopted in Russia (see Tables 1 and 2).
contamination can be determined. The doseeffect dependencies
For the investigated areas of the Volga basin, Fig. 6 presents the
were plotted for the above biological parameters (Fig. 7).
total exceedance of the actual concentrations of toxic elements
The following factors are assumed to have affected the results:
over their respective MPC values. For inorganic compounds, the
(i) the biased nature of the values of MPC, to which the pollutant
maximum concentration values, standardized to the respective
concentrations were standardized in the process of the integral
MPCs, are typical of Mn, V, and Cu. Water contamination with
dose determination (especially for toxic organic compounds);
metals (from 13 to 20 units) is typical of the Upper Volga (I, II, III).
For the whole set of toxic elements, the most heavily contami-
nated areas were found in the Gorkii Reservoir (sites IV, V, VI) and
the Lower Volga (IX, X, XI, XII, XIII). In the middle and lower 2.5
courses of the Volga, the toxic properties of water were due
to its contamination with organic compounds (mainly with 2
phthalic acid ethers), the sum of the exceedance factors of which
reaches 70.

6.2. Criteria of ecosystem health

The different types of pathology and dysfunction diagnosed in y = 0.53x0.31
the bream result from comprehensive chronic impact of numer- r = 0.77
ous toxic substances, found in the Volga River water, on the sh p<0.01
organisms. Histological analysis of sh organs and tissues
revealed serious disturbances in the morphology and function of 0
the liver and kidneys, as well as in the hematopoietic system; 0 20 40 60 80 100
many of these disturbances are irreversible. These pathologies are Itox

80 80
60 60
50 2

40 1 40
y = 5.37x0.62
30 r = 0.79
20 20 p<0.005
0 0
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII 0 20 40 60 80 100
sections Itox

Fig. 6. Sum of the concentrations of toxic substances divided by the respective Fig. 7. Dependencies of Z (a) and the percentage of sh demonstrating the second
MPC values for the investigated sections of the Volga River (1microelements; and third stages of disease (b) on the total concentration of toxic substances
2organic compounds). standardized to MPC values.

848 T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850

(ii) the underestimation of synergetic effects and the presence of Organisms have mechanisms of metal detoxication by
other presumably toxic substances in the water, which could also induction of metallothionein synthesis. These proteins bind
have a negative impact on sh organisms; (iii) the persistent specically to neutral essential trace elements, such as Zn and
effect of toxic substances over the whole lifespan of the sh, the Cu, as well as to potentially toxic metals such as Cd and Hg
range and concentration of which could be different in different (Phillips, 1995; Linde et al., 2001). The effects of metal accumula-
years and seasons; (iv) the subjective character of expert tion on sh and their pathologies, without the necessity of
evaluation; measurement errors; small samples obtained, etc. explaining the internal metabolism of metals, is the key purpose
However, despite the complexity of the synchronous studies that for our data.
were carried out and the necessity of accounting for numerous Notwithstanding the low sensitivity of the method applied,
factors, reliable dependencies were obtained. These dependencies which prevented determination of the concentration of Hg in the
conrm that the morbidity in shes inhabiting the Volga River water, the accumulation of this metal in sh was observed,
basin is related to the occurrence of various toxic substances in especially in the Middle Volga. A reliable correlation was
the water. established between Hg accumulation in sh kidneys (Hgkidneys)
Among the various negative ambient factors that cause and pathologic disturbances in this organ (Pat., %), as well as Z:
pathologic disturbances in sh organs and tissues, it is very
Pat:kidneys 210 Hgkidneys  9:68; r 0:81; po0:005,
difcult to single out the most important factors. Table 5 presents
the dependencies between the parameters of sh morbidity and
Z 53:8 Hgkidneys 0:029; r 0:85; po0:005.
the concentrations of toxic substances in the water. Depletion of
certain blood parameters is most signicantly related to the Thus, irrespective of the fact that the concentration of Hg in the
impact of V and Pb, whereas pathological disturbances in the sh investigated water was lower than the analytical detection limit
liver and kidneys are associated with the negative effects of (less than 0.05 mg/l), its accumulation in the organism can cause
dioctylphthalate, derivatives of dioxane, and oil products, as well pathogenic disturbances in sh.
as those of Cu and Mn. A reliable correlation was also established between the
The accumulation of toxic metals can also enhance (and, in accumulation of Cd in sh gills (Cdgills) and hematologic
certain cases, even directly cause) pathologies in sh. Therefore, parameters of shsuch as the concentration of hemoglobin in
the relationship between the accumulation of microelements in the blood (Hb), and neutrophils (N) in the leukocyte count:
sh and pathological disturbances in the organs and tissues of
Hb 104 Cdgills 103; r 0:87; po0:001,
bream in the Volga River basin was analyzed. The increase of
metals in the water medium may bring adverse effects on sh
N 34:5 Cdgills 3:35; r 0:88; po0:001.
health. The surplus of trace elements in the organism initiates
some specic diseases: Hg causes neurological effects, Cd and Pb As mentioned above, the accumulation of Cd in the organism is
have carcinogenic properties, Sr leads to pathology of bone accompanied by an increase in the concentrations of some other
tissues, Cu to anemia, etc. (Conto-Cinier et al., 1997; Patriarca elements. Most probably, the joint accumulation of several toxic
et al., 1998; Watras et al., 1998; Musibono and Day, 1999). elements in the sh organism entails a decrease in the

Table 5
Dependence of characteristics of the physiological state of sh on the concentration of hazardous substances in the water

Toxic elements and compounds (x) Blood characteristics (y)

Average Hb Hb not exceeding 90 g/l Neutrophiles (%)

Dibutyl phthalate y 5.6 ln(x)+107.2

r 0.65
V y 112.0 e0.12x y 52.0 ln(x)+16.9 y 6.2 e0.58x
r 0.58 r 0.68 r 0.58
Pb y 98.2 e0.07x y 21.7x+21.9 y 10.3x+9.48
r 0.64 r 0.79 r 0.88

Percentage of the shes demonstrating different pathologic disturbances in (y)

The whole organism The liver The kidneys

Hydrocarbons of oil products y 8.63 ln(x)+32.4 y 10.1 ln(x)+24.6 y 0.53x+16.4

r 0.53 r 0.56 r 0.74
Dibutyl phthalate y 0.63x+38.5
r 0.61
Dioctyl phthalate y 0.78x+45.3 y 1.17x+37.9 y 1.41x+13.6
r 0.59 r 0.70 r 0.87
Derivatives of 1,3-dioxane y 0.47x+48.7 y 0.53x+45.0 y 0.81x+20.2
r 0.62 r 0.59 r 0.87
Cu y 8.73x+34.3 y 10.7x+25.9
r 0.52 r 0.57
Mn y 24.9 ln(x)47.2 y 0.38x+5.08
r 0.76 r 0.68

Dash () denotes absence of reliable data.


T.I. Moiseenko et al. / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 71 (2008) 837850 849

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