Responses of biochemical biomarkers were evaluated in gills of immature adult mangrove oyster Crassostrea rhizophorae collected in three estuarine regions along the Brazilian coast. In each region, ten oysters were collected in one reference site (R) located far from pollution sources, and in two polluted sites (P-I and P-II sites) located in another water body with similar characteristics. P-I site is located close to recognized pollution sources while P-II site is in the same water body, but far from pollution sources. At the Paranaguá Bay (Southern Brazil), polluted sites receive domestic, harbor and phosphate fertilizer plant discharges. High lipid peroxides (LPO) content was observed in winter oysters from the P-I site. In summer, higher catalase activity was observed in these oysters. In the Piraquê region (Southeastern Brazil), polluted sites receive domestic and agricultural effluents. Lower total oxyradical scavenging capacity (TOSC) towards peroxyradicals was observed in summer oysters from both P-I and P-II sites. In the Itamaracá region (Northeastern Brazil), polluted sites receive paper mill and caustic soda and chlorine factories effluents. Increased glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity was observed in oysters from the P-I site in both summer and winter. At Paranaguá Bay (higher latitude), no seasonal differences were observed in oysters from the R site, suggesting that temperature was not an important factor influencing biomarkers levels. Lower GST activity was observed in oysters from the R site of the Itamaracá Bay (lower latitude) in winter and summer. Taken together, data obtained point to responses of biomarkers in oysters from polluted sites of the three estuarine regions analyzed, indicating the need for future monitoring of the biological effects of contaminants in these environments. They also point to the relevance to consider both season and latitude as factors influencing biomarker responses in environmental contamination monitoring programs. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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