Immunotoxicity of washing soda in a freshwater sponge of India

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2015 Mar:113:112-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2014.11.035. Epub 2014 Dec 9.


The natural habitat of sponge, Eunapius carteri faces an ecotoxicological threat of contamination by washing soda, a common household cleaning agent of India. Washing soda is chemically known as sodium carbonate and is reported to be toxic to aquatic organisms. Domestic effluent, drain water and various human activities in ponds and lakes have been identified as the major routes of washing soda contamination of water. Phagocytosis and generation of cytotoxic molecules are important immunological responses offered by the cells of sponges against environmental toxins and pathogens. Present study involves estimation of phagocytic response and generation of cytotoxic molecules like superoxide anion, nitric oxide and phenoloxidase in E. carteri under the environmentally realistic concentrations of washing soda. Sodium carbonate exposure resulted in a significant decrease in the phagocytic response of sponge cells under 4, 8, 16 mg/l of the toxin for 96h and all experimental concentrations of the toxin for 192h. Washing soda exposure yielded an initial increase in the generation of the superoxide anion and nitric oxide followed by a significant decrease in generation of these cytotoxic agents. Sponge cell generated a high degree of phenoloxidase activity under the experimental exposure of 2, 4, 8, 16 mg/l of sodium carbonate for 96 and 192 h. Washing soda induced alteration of phagocytic and cytotoxic responses of E. carteri was indicative to an undesirable shift in their immune status leading to the possible crises of survival and propagation of sponges in their natural habitat.

Keywords: Biomonitor; Eunapius carteri; Nitric oxide; Phagocytosis; Phenoloxidase; Superoxide anion; Washing soda.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbonates / toxicity*
  • Fresh Water
  • India
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Porifera / drug effects*
  • Porifera / enzymology
  • Porifera / immunology
  • Porifera / metabolism
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Water Pollutants / toxicity*


  • Carbonates
  • Water Pollutants
  • Superoxides
  • Nitric Oxide
  • sodium carbonate
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase