Impact of heavy metal bioaccumulation on antioxidant activities and DNA profile in two earthworm species and freshwater prawn from Ogun River

Sci Total Environ. 2018 May 15;624:576-585. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.037. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


The use of freshwater invertebrates as bioindicator of heavy metal pollution is an important tool for environmental biomonitoring. This study investigated antioxidant activities and DNA profile in two limicolous earthworms (Alma millsoni and Libyodrilus violaceus) and freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium vollenhovenii) at selected points of Ogun River, Abeokuta. Heavy metal concentrations and DNA profile in the earthworms and prawn tissues were measured using standard procedures. Zn concentration was higher than other heavy metals in A. millsoni (685.83±114.42mg/kg), L. violaceus (1913.3±1098.7mg/kg) and M. vollenhovenii (134.7±13.61mg/kg). Superoxide dismutase activity ranged from 62.44±7.16-79.82±11.18U/g tissues, 60.26±11.18-71.07±7.54U/g tissues and 74.07±16.69-87.79±8.50U/g tissues in A. millsoni, L. violaceus and M. vollenhovenii respectively. RAPD-PCR revealed varying DNA profile among the earthworms samples; the UPGMA dendrogram formed two distinct clusters at genetic similarity coefficient of 0.15-0.2 with one cluster consisting of Alma millsoni and Libyodrilus violaceus from Sokori, Enugada and Iberekodo sampling points and the second cluster forming two distinct sub-clusters comprising Arakanga and Ago-ika's L. violaceus in one and A. millsoni in the other. High genetic variability was recorded among the earthworm species while the freshwater prawn showed no variability. Antioxidant activities and genetic variability in earthworms could serve as biomarkers of heavy metal pollution in freshwater environment.

Keywords: DNA-profile; Dendrogram; Earthworm; Freshwater prawn; Genetic variability; Heavy metals; Ogun River.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Fresh Water
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism*
  • Norway
  • Oligochaeta / drug effects*
  • Oligochaeta / metabolism
  • Palaemonidae / drug effects*
  • Palaemonidae / metabolism
  • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique
  • Rivers
  • Sentinel Species


  • Antioxidants
  • Metals, Heavy