Assessment of Pollution Level Using Mytilus Galloprovincialis as a Bioindicator Species: The Case of the Gulf of Trieste

Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Dec 15;89(1-2):455-463. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.09.046. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


A multidisciplinary approach was used to estimate the pollution level of the marine environment in the North Eastern Adriatic by measurement of the isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen (δ(13)C, δ(15)N), metal/metalloids analyses (Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb, including As speciation) in the Mytilus galloprovincialis, as well by using metallothioneins (MT) concentrations, micronuclei (MN) in gill cells and biological parameters (condition index and gonadosomatic index). Concentrations of MT were in the range from 44 to 175 μg g(-1) wet matter tissue and were higher at the end of the winter season. The frequency of MN did not indicate an elevated level. Sewage sludge pollution was not confirmed. Elevated As concentrations in mussel are related to salinity and low nutrients concentrations and not to pollution. Elevated concentrations of Cu, Zn and Pb were found in the Bay of Koper in comparison with the Bays of Strunjan and Piran.

Keywords: As speciation; Biomarkers; Gulf of Trieste; Metals; Mytilus galloprovincialis; Stable isotopes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carbon Isotopes / analysis
  • Carbon Isotopes / metabolism
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Metalloids / analysis*
  • Metalloids / metabolism
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Mytilus / chemistry*
  • Mytilus / metabolism
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / analysis
  • Nitrogen Isotopes / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Slovenia
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Metalloids
  • Metals
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical