Effects of heavy metals on the respiratory proteins of marine organisms in relation to environmental pollution
Bonaventura, J.; Bonaventura, C.; Brouwer, M.
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 148: 75-83
ISSN/ISBN: 0065-2598 PMID: 7124531 Accession: 028211642
Seawater is a fluid medium containing measurable concentrations of many heavy metals that are potentially toxic to organisms. From the diversity of species and the complexity of life histories of marine animals, it is obvious that biochemical, physiological and behavioral adaptations have evolved to allow these animals to exist in what is a potentially toxic environment. In marine organisms the pathological effects of heavy metals have only been observed at locations where the activities of man have significantly increased the concentrations of heavy metals in the marine environment and in laboratory systems where animals have been isolated and subjected to increased levels of metals in seawater or in their diet. In unstressed or unpolluted areas, marine organisms have evolved the capability to deal with the fluctuations of metal availability in the environment. Adaptation to metal pollution sometimes occurs if the change to higher metal concentrations takes place slowly. A better understanding of the detoxification process utilized in normal and metal-stressed environments is necessary for proper interpretation of the consequences to man's health of using metal-dosed organisms as part of the food supply.