Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Bioremediation of metal-rich effluents: could the invasive bivalve corbicula fluminea work as a biofilter?

Abstract

Industrial effluents are important sources of contamination of water and sediments, frequently causing serious damage at different levels of biological organization. Management and treatment of harmful industrial wastes is thus a major concern. Metal-bearing effluents, such as acid mine drainage (AMD), are particularly problematic because metals can easily bioaccumulate in organisms and biomagnify across the trophic chain. Several solutions have been proposed to treat AMD, including active methods involving the addition of neutralizing agents and passive techniques that use natural energy sources for remediation. However, increasing environmental and economic requirements lead the constant search for more sustainable solutions. The present study explores the possibility of using Corbicula fluminea, an invasive freshwater bivalve, as a bioremediation tool using AMD as a model, metal-bearing effluent. The study compares untreated and biotreated effluents at two dilution levels (4 and 10% v/v) following two distinct approaches: (i) chemical characterization of the metal concentrations in water complemented by determination of the accumulation in the clams' soft tissues and shells; and (ii) ecotoxicity assessment using standard organisms (the bacterium Vibrio fischeri, the microalgae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, and the cladoceran Daphnia magna). Significant removal of metals from water was recorded for both effluent dilutions, with higher purification levels found for the 4% effluent. The environmental toxicity of the effluents generally decreased after the treatment with the clams. Thus, this study provides evidence for the suitability of C. fluminea as a bioremediator for metal-bearing effluents, especially if the treatment can be materialized in a multistage configuration system.