In this study a comprehensive genotoxicological survey throughout the upper and middle stretches of Adige river basin is presented. The study was carried out at 7 sites located along the Adige main course and one the most significant tributaries, the Noce creek, both presenting different levels of pollution pressure. To give an insight into the nature of the genotoxic activity we employed the battery of prokaryotic and eukaryotic assays. Mutagenicity in water samples was evaluated by SOS/umuC test in Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002. The level of DNA damage as a biomarker of exposure (comet assay) and biomarker of effect (micronucleus assay) and the level of oxidative stress as well (Fpg - modified comet assay) were studied in blood cells of Salmo cenerinus Nardo, 1847 and Salmo marmoratus Cuvier, 1829. Within the applied bioassays, comet assay showed the highest potential for discriminating the sampling sites which are under lesser extent of pressure (sampling sites 1-Barnes at Bresimo and 4-Noce downstream S. Giustina) from the sites under high pressure (sampling sites 5-Noce at Mezzolombardo and 6/7-Adige upstream and downstream municipality of Trento). Significant correlation between the standard and Fpg - modified comet assay indicated that oxidative stress could be a major contributor to observed DNA damage in collected specimens.
Keywords: Adige River; Comet assay; Ecogenotoxicology; Micronucleus; Trout.
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