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Cellular and tissular distribution of copper in an intrasedimentary bivalve, the Baltic clam Macoma balthica, originating from a clean or a metal-rich site

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Baltic clams (Macoma balthica) from clean and industrialized areas were exposed to 30 ng Cu·mL–1 or 40 ng Cu·mL–1 for 13 days. Specimens from the industrialized site accumulated less Cu in their soft tissues, suggesting that those clams living in a metal-rich area are able to limit metal accumulation. Cu and metallothionein-like protein (MTLP) levels were positively correlated in specimens from the industrialized site only, indicating that perhaps living in a polluted area enables them to use this method of detoxification. The contaminated specimens contained Cu-rich microgranules in the basal lamina and intracellular spaces of digestive gland, labial palps, and gills as well as in lysosomes of the digestive gland and in a few hemocytes. The coexistence of S and Cu suggests that sulfur may be the chelating agent. As a consequence of detoxified storage, ultrastructural damage was rarely observed. These Cu deposits, which contributed to the predominance of biochemical insoluble forms shown in the whole soft tissues, are generally considered hardly available to predators, whereas soluble Cu (35–38% of total Cu) would most probably be bioavailable.

Des bivalves Macoma balthica provenant de sites propre ou industrialisé ont été exposés à 30 ng Cu·mL–1 ou 40 ng Cu·mL–1 pendant 13 jours. Les spécimens du site industrialisé accumulent moins de cuivre dans leurs tissus mous ce qui suggère que, vivant dans un site enrichi en métaux, ils peuvent limiter l'accumulation. Les taux de cuivre et de MTLP sont corrélés positivement uniquement chez les animaux du site industrialisé qui seraient donc plus à même d'utiliser ce mode de détoxication. Les spécimens contaminés contiennent des granules riches en cuivre dans la lame basale et les espaces intercellulaires de la glande digestive, des palpes labiaux et des branchies, dans les lysosomes de la glande digestive et dans quelques hémocytes. La coexistence de soufre et de cuivre suggère que le soufre serait l'agent chélatant. Les dommages ultrastructuraux sont rares, en relation avec le stockage du cuivre sous des formes détoxifiées. Les dépôts de cuivre, contribuant à la prédominance de la fraction insoluble dans les tissus mous, sont généralement considérés comme peu assimilables par les prédateurs, contrairement au cuivre soluble (35 à 38% du cuivre total).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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