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Your Environment. Your Health.

Boston University

Superfund Research Program

Sentinel Species: Xenobiotics, Toxicity, and Reproduction

Project Leader: Ian P. Callard
Grant Number: P42ES007381
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

Investigators are studying the impact of ground water pollutants from the Otis Air Force Base Superfund site (Cape Cod) on three organisms present in the body of fresh waters (Ashumet Pond) in the path of the contaminated ground water plume. Appropriate selection of sentinel species and biomarkers of pollution, coupled with assessment of reproductive potential and development may provide an early warning of toxic impact on human reproduction. The chosen 'sentinel species' are Anodonta cygnea (fresh water mussel), Ictalurus nebulosus (brown bullhead catfish), and Chyrsemys picta (painted turtle). Several lines of evidence will be used to assess whether these animals are useful as sentinel species of reproductive effects. These include assessment of regional differences in toxin level present in test organisms, verification of the toxicity and identity of putative chemical agents contained within the contaminated groundwaters, and the evaluation of their biological activity. Hepatic effects of these ground water contaminants will then be assessed. Correlation of biological effects with these P450 and vitellogenin biomarkers using endocrine/reproductive parameters will then be performed.

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