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Linking community tolerance and structure with low metallic contamination: A field study on 13 biofilms sampled across the Seine river basin

Abstract : It is difficult to assess the biological consequences of diffuse water contamination by micropollutants which are present in rivers at low, even sublethal levels. River biofilms, which respond quickly to changes of environmental parameters, are good candidates to acquire knowledge on the response of aquatic organisms to diffuse chemical contamination in the field. The study was designed as an attempt to link biofilm metal tolerance and metallic contamination in a field survey covering 13 different sampling sites in the Seine river basin (north of France) with low contamination levels. Cd and Zn tolerance of heterotrophic communities was assessed using a short-term toxicity test based on b-glucosidase activity. Metal tolerance levels varied between sites but there was no obvious correlation between tolerance and corresponding water contamination levels for Cd and Zn. Indeed, metallic contamination at the sampling sites remained subtle when compared to water quality standards (only two sampling sites had either Zn or both Cu and Zn concentrations exceeding the Environmental Quality Standards set by the EU Water Framework Directive). Yet, multivariate analysis of the data using Partial Least Squares Regression revealed that both metallic and environmental parameters were important variables explaining the variability of metal tolerance levels. Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) was also performed on both bacterial and eukaryotic biofilm communities from the 13 sampling sites. Multivariate analysis of ARISA fingerprints revealed that biofilms with similar tolerance levels have similar ARISA profiles. Those results confirm that river biofilms are potential indicators of low, diffuse contamination levels of aquatic systems.
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https://hal-agroparistech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01569642
Contributor : Armelle Sielinou <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 11:32:55 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 8:16:32 PM

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L. Fechner, C. Gourlay-France, M.-H. Tusseau-Vuillemin. Linking community tolerance and structure with low metallic contamination: A field study on 13 biofilms sampled across the Seine river basin. Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2014, 51, pp.152-162. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2013.12.002⟩. ⟨hal-01569642⟩

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