Using rapid assessment of marine pollution (RAMP) techniques to assess the quality of marine sediments

Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa, Márcia Caruso Bícego, Eduinetty Ceci Pereira Moreira de Sousa, Leticia Pires Zaroni, Bauer Rodarte de Figueredo Rachid, Elisabet Cornet Arnalot, Gilberto Fillmann, James Readman, Michael Depledge


Sediments represent an important environmental compartment, because they provide substrate for a range of species and may accumulate contaminants in high concentrations. However, the universe of methods to assess the quality of sediments is still small. This investigation aimed to assess the quality of sediments from some sites of Ubatuba (SE Brazil). To achieve that, sediments were analyzed for the presence of PAHs, by immunoassay ELISA kit for the carcinogenic PAH (c-PAH) RaPID Assay, and for toxicity to amphipods, sea-urchin embryos and direct exposure of mussel hemocytes and measurements of the nuetral red retention time (NRTT). Results showed higher levels of PAHs in sediments from Itagua and Ribeira, those more intensely affected by contamination sources. The ecotoxicological analyses indicated these two sites as more degraded, together with the sediments from Lamberto Beach, which is also influenced by nautical activities. The NRRT correlated with the quantities of PAHs in sediments. We concluded that Ribeira Bay and Itaguá Beach need more detailed investigation on pollution and that the NRRT assay exposing directly hemocytes to sediment elutriates can be a useful tool to assessing sediment quality.

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