USING BIOMARKERS IN FISH TO DETECT ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION BY MERCURY
Keywords:Aquatic ecosystems, pollution assessement, indicators of pollution, toxic effects
Biomarkers can be used to evaluate the toxic effects of pollutants to aquatic environments. Through studying the effects of exposure to pollutants in three levels of complexity -- individual; cellular and molecular -- the actual health risk related to causes/ doses/ effects can be evaluated. Mercury and its derivates are considered important environmental pollutants that are highly reactive, which upon certain concentrations within tissues can denature proteins and inactivate enzymes, thus impairing cellular activities. Fish can besuitably coupled with biomarkers to serve as indicators of pollution in aquatic environments. The efficiency degree of each biomarker will depend of the fish used (e.g. its size, sex, and age) and on its trophic position in the system. This way, environmental quality studies that employ a wide range of biomarkers more are capable of returning a precise evaluation of the possible effects of a contaminant on a given organism.