Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

In vitro bioanalytical assessment of toxicity of wetland samples from Spanish Mediterranean coastline

Celma, Alberto; Mandava, Geeta; Oskarsson, Agneta; Sancho, Juan Vicente; Bijlsma, Lubertus; Lundqvist, Johan


Background Fresh water bodies represent less than 1% of overall amount of water on earth and ensuring their quality and sustainability is pivotal. Although several campaigns have been performed to monitor the occurrence of micropollutants by means of chemical analysis, this might not cover the whole set of chemicals present in the sample nor the potential toxic effects of mixtures of natural and anthropogenic chemicals. In this sense, by selecting relevant toxicity endpoints when performing in vitro bioanalysis, effect-based methodologies can be of help to perform a comprehensive assessment of water quality and reveal biological activities relevant to adverse health effects. However, no prior bioanalytical study was performed in wetland water samples from the Spanish Mediterranean coastline. Methods Eleven samples from relevant water bodies from the Spanish Mediterranean coastline were collected to monitor water quality on 8 toxicity endpoints. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), androgenicity (AR+ and AR-), estrogenicity (ER+ and ER-), oxidative stress response (Nrf2) and vitamin D receptor (VDR+ and VDR-) reporter gene assays were evaluated. Results AhR was the reporter gene assay showing a more frequent response over the set of samples (activated by 9 out of 11 samples), with TCDD-eq in the range 7.7-22.2 pM. For AR, ER and VDR assays sporadic activations were observed. Moreover, no activity was observed on the Nrf2 reporter gene assay. Wastewater and street runaway streams from Valencia could be responsible for enhanced activities in one of the water inputs in the Natural Park 'L'Albufera'. Conclusions Water quality of relevant wetlands from the Spanish Mediterranean coastline has been evaluated. The utilization of a panel of 5 different bioassays to cover for different toxicity endpoints has demonstrated to be a good tool to assess water quality.


Surface water; In vitro bioassay; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; Androgen receptor; Estrogen receptor; Oxidative stress; Nrf2; Vitamin D receptor; Coastal lagoon; TCDD-eq

Published in

Environmental Sciences Europe
2021, Volume: 33, number: 1, article number: 70
Publisher: SPRINGER