Biomarkers as a tool for assessing diffuse contamination of coastal wetland


  • Silvia Villar Arias Instituto Iberoamericano de Posgrados



biomarkers, comet assay, Ctenomys pearsoni, micronucleus test, Playa Penino, wetland


Playa Penino is a natural reserve located on the south coast of Uruguay. It hosts 244 species of birds (more than 50% of the bird biodiversity recorded for Uruguay). The area is included in the International BirdLife Program for biodiversity preservation. Urbanization and pollution generally have affected the quality of the water and biodiversity in wetlands. The analysis of the major wetland of Playa Penino revealed high levels of organic compounds. The biomonitoring was done using the caviomorph rodent Ctenomys pearsoni (commonly known as tuco tuco) as an indicator species because they inhabit burrows around the wetland. Genetic effects were determined using the comet assay and micronucleus test. The significant correlations between chemical and microbiological parameters and genetic damage might indicate that macronutrients from sewage could be one of the causes of the genetic damage. There is an urgent need to conserve the biodiversity of this natural area by introducing sewage treatment, cesspool control and by controlling settlement in the area etc.