Does a change, which affects a few biological macro-molecules, some cells, or a few individuals within a population, have any ecological significance that would allow the prediction of deleterious effects at higher levels of biological organization, namely the population, community, and ultimately the ecosystem? With contributions from experts in the field, Ecological Biomarkers: Indicators of Ecotoxicological Effects explores how biomarkers can be used to predict effects farther down the chain. It presents a synthesis of the state of the art in the methodology of biomarkers and its contribution to ecological risk assessment. This book describes the core biomarkers currently used in environmental research concerned with biological monitoring, biomarkers which correspond to the defences developed by living organisms in response to contaminants in their environment, and biomarkers that reveal biological damage resulting from contaminant stressors. It examines the efficacy of lysosomal biomarkers, immunotoxicity effects, behavioral disturbances, energy metabolism impairments, endocrine disruption measures, and genotoxicity as all indicative of probable toxic effects at higher biological levels. It is time to revisit the biological responses most ecologically relevant in the diagnosis of the health status of an aquatic environment well before it becomes unmanageable. Biomarkers provide a real possibility of delivering an easily measured marker at a simple level of biological organization that is predictably linked to a potentially ecologically significant effect at higher levels of biological organization. The text explores the latest knowledge and thinking on how to use biomarkers as tools for the assessment of environmental health and management.
Biological markers (biomarkers) are useful tools for understanding the nature and extent of human exposure and risk from environmental toxicants. Biomarkers are classified into three basic categories: exposure, effect, or susceptibility. A marker of exposure is the product of the interaction between a target cell or molecule and a foreign substance (NAS, 1989). These markers can be used to determine the biologically effective dose necessary to elicit a particular physiological change in an organism. A marker of effect is a biochemical or physiological change in an organism that can predict the onset of adverse health effects resulting from a given exposure. Lastly, markers of susceptibility act as indicators of an inherent or acquired tendency of an organism to experience an adverse health effect (NAS, 1989). These markers are already used to detect a variety of diseases and show great promise for developing a better understanding of the mechanicisms of disease. Additionally, biomarkers can be used to establish a more rational basis for quantitative risk extrapolation between species, as weIl as to obtain more precise estimates of the time of critical exposure. These markers can also prove helpful in identifying potentially damaging exposures before the onset of adverse health effects. Biomarkers serve as a valuable exposure assessment tool because they take into account exposure from all routes and integrate exposure from all sources. They have the potential to yield better risk estimates than current monitoring and modeling protocols. In lune 1992, Dr. Travis and Dr.
How can biological markers help assess and predict human health risks? Find out the answers to this question and others in this timely new book examining the use of biological markers in animals and plants for evaluating the ecological and health effects of environmental contamination. The book explains the concept of environmental sentinels, presents example of field studies and discusses the utility of biomarkers within a risk analysis paradigm. Anyone who needs to know how to assess and predict environmental contamination should consider this book essential reading.
This book is a valuable contribution to the debate about the harmful effects of environmental toxicants on human health, which is a growing concern in the 21st century. Complementary chapters decipher the phenomena and highlight the latest developments in environmental toxicology, providing readers with a comprehensive overview of environmental toxicology and human health. Since the toxicants in question are not only chemical or biological in nature, but also include man-made electromagnetic fields, the book explores in detail multidisciplinary approaches to environmental toxicology, with a focus on the following five aspects: 1. The effects of man-made electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on human health proposed mechanisms and biological effects and measures). 2. An overview of nanotoxicity, nanomedicine and cancer research. 3. A bio-computational approach to the molecular interaction of environmental carcinogens with DNA. 4. The toxicology of environmental pollutants in the air, dust, soil, water and natural toxins in the environment: exposure and health. 5. Social insects as environmental indicators of ecotoxicological effects in different ecosystems. The book analyzes the carcinogenic, mutagenic, genotoxic and neurotoxic effects of both anthropogenic and natural toxins present in water, soil, air and our surroundings in the form of electro-pollution or electro-smog.
Biological markers used to assess the effects of environmental pollution have attracted considerable attention from regulatory agencies and are currently under evaluation at a number of research facilities throughout the world. However promising a biomarker-based biomonitoring approach may be, the development of this concept is complicated by a range of technical issues. This book provides a conceptional framework for research and application of biomarkers. International experts on biomonitoring have formulated a unified strategy for the development and validation of biomarkers in assessing environmental health as well as appropriate protocols for their implementation and interpretation in a biological monitoring program.
Nondestructive Biomarkers in Vertebrates presents an innovative approach for hazard assessment in vertebrates based on nondestructive rather than destructive methods. The book reviews the state of the art and defines the development and validation procedure of this new strategy. Biological materials, such as blood samples, epithelial tissue, eggs, feathers, and feces that can be obtained without stress or damage to the animal are suggested. Certain traditional studies (blood esterases, blood chemistry, mixed function oxidases, porphyrins, DNA damage, and cytological changes) can be performed on these specimens, along with new tests requiring only very small samples. This approach is developed to benefit protected, threatened species whose existence cannot be further jeopardized by the use of destructive methods. This volume will be particularly useful to ecotoxicologists, wildlife protection personnel, environmental consultants, and conservationist organizations.
This volume offers selected contributions to the 8th International Congress of Ecology to illuminate large-scale ecological problems and discuss how these can be managed through a variety of planning processes. From mathematical approaches to improve understanding of complex ecosystems, to monitoring activity and human impact, this book covers a truly global range of issues. The book concludes with a summary of the Congress, and a discussion of possible future directions.
Monitoring the environment is absolutely essential if we are to identify hazards to human health, to assess environmental cleanup efforts, and to prevent further degradation of the ecosystem. Biomonitors and biomarkers combined with chemical monitoring offer the only approach to making these assessments. Based on an International Association of Great Lakes Research conference, this book is intended for researchers who want to incorporate new and different technologies in their development of specifically-crafted monitors; students who are learning the field of biomonitoring; and regulatory agencies that want to consider newer technologies to replace inadequate and less powerful test regimes.
One of the most impressive large rivers worldwide is in Egypt the river Nile known since ages for its intense anthropogenic use as well as for increasing pollution along its course from spring to estuary forming presumably a strong gradient of pollutants. Effective management of the river Nile in a manner that supports a sustainable economy and society with sufficient quantity and quality of water is essential. In order to do this, however, improved water quality monitoring is necessary to facilitate resource protection and to understand ecological changes within ecosystems. In past decades, aquatic monitoring programs dealt only with the measurement of physical and chemical variables. Physicochemical analyses alone are insufficient to provide the information about water quality and it is essential to use biological test systems (biomonitoring) with living cells or organisms that provide a general response to the pollutants present in the sample. Biomonitoring takes advantage of the knowledge that chemicals that have entered the organisms leave biomarkers reflecting this exposure. Biomarkers have been proposed as sensitive tools for detecting environmental exposure and adverse effects of toxic anthropogenic chemicals on aquatic organisms. Biomarkers may take many forms - from the assessment of chemical residues in the tissues of living organisms (bioaccumulation level), through to assaying specific biological end points based on changes to various biochemical, physiological, morphological or behavioral characteristics in organisms, as well as traditional ecological community attributes such as abundance and diversity. Biomarkers at the molecular level tend to respond first, followed by responses at the cellular (biochemical), morphological/histological and whole-body levels. Thus, by monitoring molecular, biochemical and physiological parameters biomarkers can be used as an early warning system and the potential harm of an agent can be assessed before more severe disturbances/consequences occur. Within this book, in the interest of clarity, the early warning biomarkers are limited as “rapidly-responding biomarkers” to the sub-organismic changes, such as bioaccumulation biomarkers, molecular biomarkers, biochemical biomarkers, physiological biomarkers, and morphological/histological biomarkers, that can be measured in cells, body fluids, tissues or organs within an organism and are indicative of xenobiotic exposure and/or effect.