Bioactive substances in the Biobio River Basin in Chile were examined by deploying Semi Permeable Membrane Devices (SPMDs) upstream and downstream of 4 pulp mill effluent discharges. Androgenic and estrogenic activity of SPMD extracts were then evaluated using in vitro fish sex steroid receptor binding assays. The results indicated the occurrence of estrogenic type compounds associated with one of the mill discharges. A significant correlation among the presence of these compounds, an increase in gonadosomatic index GSI and induction of hepatic EROD activity of two native fish species was observed. However, no significant presence of mature oocytes in female gonads was detected. Although EROD induction was observed in sites impacted by mill effluents, an increase of its activity occurred towards the downstream areas, suggesting other non-mill sources. More research is needed to understand the environmental changes in context of the new technological improvements in treatment systems to MBBR (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor) recently implemented by the pulp mill industries.
- Estrogenic compounds
- Wild fish
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis