Environmental health and toxicology

Characterisation of acute toxicity, genotoxicity and oxidative stress posed by textile effluent on zebrafish

Wenjuan Zhang , Wei Liu , Jing Zhang , Huimin Zhao , Yaobin Zhang , Xie Quan , Yihe Jin


Received January 17, 2012,Revised May 04, 2012, Accepted , Available online November 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 2019-2027

Textile industries are important sources of toxic discharges and contribute enormously to water deterioration, while little attention has been paid to the toxicity of textile effluents in discharge regulation. Bioassays with zebrafish were employed to evaluate the toxicity of wastewater samples collected from different stages at a textile factory and sewage treatment plants (STPs). Physico-chemical parameters, acute toxicity, genotoxicity and oxidative stress biomarkers were analyzed. The wastewater samples from bleaching, rinsing and soaping of the textile factory exhibited high acute toxicity and genotoxicity. The coexisting components of dye compounds, as assistants and oxidants, seemed to cause some effect on the toxic response. After treatment employing the anoxic-oxic (A/O) process in STPs, the color and the chemical oxygen demand (COD) were reduced by 40% and 84%, respectively, falling within the criteria of the Chinese Sewage Discharge Standard. In contrast, increases in acute toxicity and genotoxicity were observed in the anaerobic tank, indicating the formation of toxic intermediates. The genotoxicity of the effluent of the STP was not significantly different from that of the influent, suggesting the wastewater treatment processes were not effective in removing the genotoxicity of the dye wastewater. Results indicated that the effluent contains pro-oxidants since the activities of glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA), and total anti-oxidation capacity (T-AOC) were all elevated. In addition, decreases in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-S transferase (GST) activities observed can be interpreted as a cytotoxicity sign due to an over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The results of the present study suggest that the STPs were not capable of reducing the toxicity of wastewater sufficiently. Further treatment is needed to remove the potential risks posed by textile effluent to ecosystems and human health, and employing a toxicity index is necessary for discharge regulation.

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