Some water bodies in the Sinos River Basin (SRB) have been suffering the effects of pollution by residential, industrial and agroindustrial wastewater. The presence of cytotoxic and genotoxic compounds could compromise the water quality and the balance of these ecosystems. In this context, the research aimed to evaluate the genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of the water at four sites along the SRB (in the cities of Santo Antônio da Patrulha, Parobé, Campo Bom and Esteio), using bioassays in fish and cell culture. Samples of surface water were collected and evaluated in vitro using the Astyanax jacuhiensis fish species (micronucleus test and comet assay) and the Vero lineage of cells (comet assay and cytotoxicity tests, neutral red - NR and tetrazolium MTT). The micronucleus test in fish showed no significant differences between the sampling sites, and neither did the comet assay and the MTT and NR tests in Vero cells. The comet assay showed an increase in genetic damage in the fish exposed to water samples collected in the middle and lower sections of the basin (Parobé, Campo Bom and Esteio) when compared to the upper section of the basin (Santo Antônio da Patrulha). The results indicate contamination by genotoxic substances starting in the middle section of the SRB.
water quality; micronucleus test; comet assay; fish bioassays; cell culture