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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 1, p. 149-153
    Received: Aug 1, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): renaud_quilbe@inrs-ete.uquebec.ca
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Combinatory Chemical and Biological Approaches to Investigate Metal Elements in Agricultural Runoff Water

  1. Renaud Quilbé *ab,
  2. Isabelle Pieria,
  3. Stanislas Wichereka,
  4. Nathalie Dugasc,
  5. Albert Tasteyrec,
  6. Yolène Thomasa and
  7. Jean-Paul Oudineta
  1. a Centre de Biogéographie-Ecologie, FRE 2545 CNRS/ENS-LSH, 15 Parvis René Descartes, 69366 Lyon cedex 07, France
    b INRS–Eau, Terre & Environnement, Université du Québec, 2800 rue Einstein, C.P. 7500, Sainte-Foy (Québec), G1V 4C7, Canada
    c Vigicell, Institut André Lwoff, Bât. G, 7 rue Guy Moquet, 94801 Villejuif, France


As part of a project studying the interactions between farming practices, soil erosion processes, and fate of agricultural pollutants into runoff waters, we conducted a pilot study to investigate the relationship between metal contents and metallothionein-2A (MT-2A) as a bioindicator of metal exposure. Runoff water samples were collected between May and November 1999 at the point of outlet of an elementary watershed located in the Paris basin. Selected metals (Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, and Zn) were analyzed using conventional techniques. In parallel, human T cells were exposed to water samples for 6 and 18 h and then cell viability and MT-2A gene expression were measured. Results show that among the 10 water samples tested, Al and Zn predominate (highest values = 4.9 and 2.6 μM, respectively), while other metals were below the μM level. Five out of 10 samples induced MT-2A gene expression (30–80% increase at 18 h) as compared with the control. When comparing MT-2A induction profile with metals contents, no obvious correlation was found, suggesting that additional components or parameters are involved. Finally, there was an apparent inverse relationship between Ca concentration and MT-2A gene induction. Although still preliminary, in the absence of longer monitoring, this study shows that MT-2A gene expression is a useful tool to complement chemical analysis in assessing metal elements in water. These combinatory approaches will be pursued and integrated in an ongoing watershed field research project.

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