Accumulation and depuration of cyanobacterial toxin nodularin and biomarker responses in the mussel Mytilus edulis

Harri Kankaanpää*, Sari Leiniö, Miikka Olin, Olli Sjövall, Jussi Meriluoto, Kari K. Lehtonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) were exposed to an extract made of natural cyanobacterial mixture containing toxic cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena (70-110 μg nodularin l-1, 24-h exposure followed by 144-h depuration period in clean water). Toxin concentration increased from initial 400 to 1100 mg kg-1 after 24-h exposure, measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE), a biomarker of direct neurotoxic effects, showed inhibition after 12 and 24 h exposure but returned to control level during the depuration period. Catalase (CAT) activity, an indicator of oxidative stress, showed significantly elevated levels in exposed mussels but only 72 h after the end of the exposure. No change in the activity of glutathione-S-transferase (GST) involved in conjugation reactions could be observed. A gradual yet incomplete elimination of nodularin (from 1100 to 600 mg kg-1) was observed during the depuration period, and the tissue levels were 30% lower in clean water after 24 h. The observed increase in oxidative stress indicated by elevated CAT activity is likely connected to detoxification reactions leading to the production of reactive oxygen species, including an apparent time lag in this specific enzymatic defence response. That no change in GST activity was observed suggests that this enzyme is not significantly involved in the detoxification process of nodularin-containing cyanobacterial extract in M. edulis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1217
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Biomarkers
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione-S-transferase
  • Mytilus edulis
  • Nodularia spumigena
  • Nodularin


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