SVIBOR - Project code: 1-08-155


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Project code: 1-08-155

Biochemical indicators of toxicological stress in marine organisms

Main researcher: OZRETIĆ, MIRJANA (34430)

Type of research: basic
Duration from: 01/01/91. to 12/31/93.

Papers on project (total): 38
Papers on project quoted in Current Contents: 4
Institution name: Institut "Ruđer Bošković", Zagreb (98)
Department/Institute: Center for Marine research, Rovinj
Address: Giordano Paliaga 5
City: 52210 - Rovinj, Hrvatska
Phone: 385 (0)52 811 544
Fax: 385 (0)52 813 496

Summary: Development of relatively fast and simple toxicity tests and the characterization of appropriate marine test organisms to be used for testing and biomonitoring the quality of the sea water environment was the main concern of this project. In order to find most relevant indicators for the early detection of the toxicological stress we proceeded to evaluated qualitative and quantitative alterations of some specific physiological and biochemical reactions in selected marine organisms. Fish liver and the early embryo-developmetal phases of sea urchin were adopted as model systems. Carbone tetrachloride, cyanides, phenol and TBT were used as model toxicants. In fish, among several plasma enzymes GPT, GLDH and SDH were adopted as specific enzymes, indicative of cytotoxic lesion of liver, while the reactivity of LDH and GOT as non specific liver enzymes were adopted to check any extra hepatic harm as general indicators of stress. For that purpose GOT isoenzymes were separated, purified, and characterized according to their molecular and catalytic properties and to their sensitivity to inhibitors. In blood and plasma of intoxicated fish, besides the enzyme activity we measured also some hematological and biochemical parameters significant for the estimation of the health condition of fish.The toxicity of TBT as component of antifouling marine paints was evaluated on the basis of several sea urchin embryotoxicity tests using their gametes and the early embryonal stages, measuring the cleavage rate delay and the reduced production of DNA and echinochrome.

Keywords: Carbon tetrachloride, cyanides, DNA, echinohrome, embryonal development, gametes, grey mullets, glutamate deydrogenase, glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, glutamate pyruvate transaminase, isoenzymes, lactic dehydrogenase, liver, mytohondrial and cytoplasmatic glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, plasma enzymes, sorbitol dehydrogenase, phenols, sea urchin, stress, TBT.

Research goals: Marine toxicity tests are essential not only for the assesment of specific effects of any substance introduced in the marine environment, but also for the issue of emission standards and criteria pertinent for evaluation and for the control of the marine environmental quality. Most of these standards were up today estimated inadequately, on the basis of ecotoxicological tests and surveys with fresh water organisms. To find the most rapid, simple and accurate procedure for the early warning of the ecological stress in marine environment, as well as the introduction of sensitive and representative marine organisms to be used for marine toxicity testing procedures were the main objectives of this project. Grey mullet fish (Mugil auratus Risso) and sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus Lmk. and Sphaerechinus granularis L.) gametes and their developing embryos were used. Specific organs, tissues, whole blood and plasma in fish and early embryonal stages of sea urchin are likely to fulfill most of the requirements for toxicity testing and have been recomended for general use as marine test organisms.


  1. Name of project: YUG/100 - G Serum enzymes in fish as biochemical incicators of marine pollution
    Name of institution: FAO/UNEP
    City: Athens, Greece

  2. Name of project: Yug/70-G Development of short-term toxicity tests: The use of sea urchin gametes and their developmental stages
    Name of institution: FAO/UNEP
    City: Athens, Greece

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Last update: 10/05/95