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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123On-line version ISSN 1678-4561


ARIAS, Ana Rosa Linde et al. Use of bioindicators for assessing and monitoring pesticides contamination in streams and rivers. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2007, vol.12, n.1, pp.61-72. ISSN 1413-8123.

The objective of this article is to present an analysis of the main bioindicators that are currently used to assess the environmental impact of pollution in water resources. The simple quantification of chemicals in the environment is not enough to reveal the real effects of contamination on ecosystems, making necessary the assessment of the biological effects that pollution causes at different hierarchical levels. The bioindicators used in this article on two case studies comprehend different hierarchical levels: in case study 1, three organization levels were utilized: individual, cellular and molecular, to detect the early effects of exposition to environmental pollutants in three hydrographic basins. By observing the inhibition of AChE activity in fish it was possible to assess the effects of organophosphorate and carbamate pesticides, showing the effects of agricultural activities. In case study 2, we present an assessment at the macroinvertebrate community level using the Extended Biotic Index. We discuss the advantages and limitations in the production of reliable data that could be used in the implementation of adequate actions to protect and/or recover ecosystems.

Keywords : Impact assessment; Environmental monitoring; Agrochemicals.

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