This project aimed to measure biochemical and cytogenetic biomarkers in marine fish (Aldrichetta forsteri and Sillago schomburgkii) associated with industrial and urban centres in South Australia. These sites were Port Pirie (affected by metal-contaminated outflows), Barker Inlet (adjacent to Metropolitan Adelaide), and Wills Creek (reference site). The biochemical biomarkers included sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) and alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) in serum, adenylate levels (ATP, ADP and AMP) and adenylate energy charge (AEC) in gill and liver, and sodium/potassium ATPase (Na+,K+- ATPase) in gill. Erythrocyte micronucleus frequency was a marker of cytogenetic effect. Serum enzyme levels were generally higher in fish from Port Pirie and Barker Inlet than in those from Wills Creek, with SDH demonstrating the clearest site-associated differences. Tissue adenylates were consistently lower at Port Pirie than elsewhere, suggesting a greater metabolic strain in fish at this site. AEC in gill and liver were consistently lower at Port Pirie than at Wills Creek, with Barker Inlet generally between these two. The reversed rank order was observed with erythrocyte micronucleus frequencies. Seasonal variations in the biomarkers may be attributed either to seasonal physiological changes in fish or changes in pollutant input levels or compositions. Na+,K+-ATPase did not differ between sites nor seasons in this study. This work shows that biochemical and cytogenetic differences occur in marine fish at specific locations in South Australia. It also shows that of these tests, serum SDH and erythrocyte micronuclei are potentially the most sensitive and reliable biomarkers of pollutants effects on marine fish. The results also suggest that these data may be used as a baseline against which future changes in marine water quality, and their consequent biological effects, can be compared.
- Adenylate energy charge
- Serum enzymes