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Benzo(a)pyrene inhibits the role of the bioturbator Tubifex tubifex in river sediment biogeochemistry

Mermillod-Blondin, Florian and Foulquier, Arnaud and Gilbert, Franck and Navel, Simon and Montuelle, Bernard and Bellvert, Floriant and Comte, Gilles and Grossi, Vincent and Fourel, François and Lecuyer, Christophe and Simon, Laurent Benzo(a)pyrene inhibits the role of the bioturbator Tubifex tubifex in river sediment biogeochemistry. (2013) Science of the Total Environment, 450-451. 230-241. ISSN 0048-9697

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.02.013


The interactions between invertebrates and micro-organisms living in streambed sediments often play key roles in the regulation of nutrient and organic matter fluxes in aquatic ecosystems. However, benthic sediments also constitute a privileged compartment for the accumulation of persistent organic pollutants such as PAHs or PCBs that may affect the diversity, abundance and activity of benthic organisms. The objective of this study was to quantify the impact of sediment contamination with the PAH benzo(a)pyrene on the interaction between micro-organisms and the tubificid worm, Tubifex tubifex, which has been recognized as a major bioturbator in freshwater sediments. Sedimentary microcosms (slow filtration columns) contaminated or not with benzo(a)pyrene (3 tested concentrations: 0, 1 and 5 mg kg−1) at the sediment surface were incubated under laboratory conditions in the presence (100 individuals) or absence of T. tubifex. Although the surface sediment contaminations with 1 mg kg−1 and 5 mg kg−1 of benzo(a)pyrene did not affect tubificid worm survival, these contaminations significantly influenced the role played by T. tubifex in biogeochemical processes. Indeed, tubificidworms stimulated aerobic respiration, denitrification, dehydrogenase and hydrolytic activities of micro-organisms in uncontaminated sediments whereas such effects were inhibited in sediments polluted with benzo(a)pyrene. This inhibition was due to contaminant-induced changes in bioturbation (and especially bio-irrigation) activities of worms and their resulting effects on microbial processes. This study reveals the importance of sublethal concentrations of a contaminant on ecological processes in river sediments through affecting bioturbator–microbe interactions. Since they affect microbial processes involved in water purification processes, such impacts of sublethal concentrations of pollutants should be more often considered in ecosystem health assessment.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969713001769
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon - ENS de Lyon (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat - ENTPE (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Claude Bernard-Lyon I - UCBL (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture - CEMAGREF (FRANCE)
Other partners > Institut d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche en alimentation, santé animale, sciences agronomiques et de l'environnement - VetAgro Sup (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
EC2CO- Cytrix from INSU/CNRS - Institut Fédératif de Recherche no. 41 (Bio-Environnement et Santé), - Urban Community of Lyon - Rhône– Alpes Region
Deposited On:26 Mar 2013 12:50

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