The use of Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) as a bioindicator species for studies on effects of dumped chemical warfare agents in the Skagerrak. 2. Biochemical biomarkers
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The sea bottom of the Skagerrak Strait (North Sea) contains munitions loaded with chemical warfare agents (CWA), mostly stored in shipwrecks scuttled intentionally after the end of the World War II. The munition shells inside the wrecks are in different states of deterioration and corrosion and their environmental risk potential is unknown. The Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa), a sediment-dwelling chordate, was used as a model organism to study the potential impact of dumped CWA on the local ecosystem by using biochemical biomarkers. The hagfish were collected in 2017 and 2018 at three sampling sites: in the immediate vicinity of a wreck with CWA in the Skagerrak, a few kilometres from the wreck, and a reference site 21 km from the wreck, considered to be free of CWA. Significant differences were observed between the wreck site and the reference sites in the activities of glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione S-transferase, while the activity levels of catalase and acetylcholinesterase were identical at all sites. The recorded differences demonstrated negative biological effects in the hagfish sampled close to the dumped chemical munitions. Due to the limited knowledge of hagfish biology and of the extent of CWA contamination in Skagerrak, the results presented here warrant more research to further elucidate the potential environmental risks of the scuttled wrecks. The usefulness of the species as a bioindicator organism is further discussed.
Ahvo, Aino; Lehtonen, Kari; Lastumäki, Anu; Straumer, Katharina; Kraugerud, Marianne; Feist, Stephen; Lang, Thomas; Tørnes, John Aasulf. The use of Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) as a bioindicator species for studies on effects of dumped chemical warfare agents in the Skagerrak. 2. Biochemical biomarkers. Marine Environmental Research 2020 ;Volum 162