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Marine pollution bulletin
Parameters of environmental health, including paracellular permeability of external epithelia, functional state of lysosomes and the level of metallothioneins (MTs), were examined using fluorescent markers and vital microfluorometry in different tissues of the marine gastropod, Hexaplex trunculus, from a coal-polluted and coal-free site. Vital microfluorometrical examinations exhibited enhanced paracellular permeability of external epithelia to the anionic marker, fluorescein (FLU), lower lysosomal accumulation of neutral red (NR) as well as higher levels of MTs, when compared with epithelia of gastropods from the coal-free site. Those differences were particularly marked in the foot epithelium, which is in direct contact with the substrate. In addition, cadmium was measured by ICP–AES in the hepatopancreas of gastropods sampled from the coal-polluted site and two coal-free sites. Significantly higher levels of Cd were found in gastropod hepatopancreas from the coal-polluted site. In addition, two months feeding experiments conducted in aquaria containing: (a) coal pieces covered by barnacles; (b) natural rocks covered by barnacles; and (c) natural rocks with barnacles + bare coal pieces, demonstrated significant increase of Cd concentration in the hepatopancreas of the gastropods exposed to coal. We suggest that coal in the marine environment has detrimental effects on marine gastropods, both directly through contact with the organisms and indirectly through the food web.