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Investigations of marine ecotoxicological impacts using nuclear-based techniques

Pictures Musselexp: Experiments made in the framework of a Technical Cooperation project with the Universidad Austral de Chile to examine the bioaccumulation and depuration patterns of the Chilean blue mussels Mytilus chilensis; using the radiotracer 109Cd

Experiments made in the framework of a Technical Cooperation project with the Universidad Austral de Chile to examine the bioaccumulation and depuration patterns of the Chilean blue mussels Mytilus chilensis, using the radiotracer 109Cd

The main objectives of this project is to develop and apply experimental radiotracer and nuclear-based techniques for assessing bio-distributions, contaminant pathways, behavior and fate of potentially toxic metals and organic compounds originating from land based industrial and mining activities in various marine species. Fellows from member states, students, and researchers from many countries come to the Radioecology Laboratory to be trained in designing, executing and analyzing uptake and depuration experiments with radiotracers. According to their specific needs and priorities, they have the opportunity to use this state-of-the art methodology to study pollutant impacts on specific marine organisms. These studies produce baseline data and evaluate the use of these marine organisms in future biomonitoring programs.

For example, in Chile, local fish and shellfish farming have to face problems of bioaccumulation of toxic trace metals into shellfishes. Chilean mussels have been reported to contain cadmium above the accepted limit. Different experiments, using the radiotracer 109Cd, were designed to determine contamination and depuration patterns of cadmium in these mussels as well as the most contaminated organs.