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The anoxic survival time of the bivalves Chamelea gallina, Cerastoderma edule and Scapharca inaequivalvis from two different ecosystems and differing anoxia tolerances was studied in static (closed) and flow-through systems. The antibiotics chloramphenicol, penicillin and polymyxin were added, and molybdate (specific inhibitor of the process of sulfate reduction). Survival in (near) anoxic seawater of Chamelea was studied in a static system by comparing untreated seawater with autoclaved seawater and untreated clams with clams incubated in well-aerated seawater, containing the broad-spectrum antibiotic chloramphenicol, prior to the anoxic survival test. With untreated clams and natural seawater (median mortality time 2.4 days) a decrease in pH and exponential accumulation of sulfide and ammonium was observed in the anoxic medium, indicating excessive growth of (sulfate reducing) bacteria. In sterilized seawater LT50 (2.1 days) was not significantly different and again considerable amounts of ammonium and sulfide accumulated. However, pre-treatment of clams with chloramphenicol resulted in an increase of LT50 (11.0 days) by approximately fivefold. Accumulation of ammonium and sulfide was retarded, but was finally even stronger than in the medium containing untreated clams. Median mortality times were 2.5 and 2.4 days for Chamelea and 2.7 and 2.9 days for Cerastoderma for static and flow-through incubations, respectively. Addition of chloramphenicol increased strongly survival time in both systems with corresponding values of 11.0 and 16.3 days for Chamelea, and 6.4 and 6.5 days for Cerastoderma. LT50 of Scapharca in anoxic seawater was 14.4 days. Chloramphenicol and penicillin increased median survival time to 28.5 and 28.7 days, respectively, whereas polymyxin displayed no effect (LT50=13.6 days). Molybdate added to artificial sulfate free seawater blocked biotic sulfide formation, but did not improve survival time (LT50=13.7 days). Overall the results indicate that proliferation of anaerobic pathogenic bacteria, firmly associated with the bivalves, is a main cause of death besides lack of oxygen. Bacterial damage is probably caused by injury of the tissues of the clams and not by the release of noxious compounds to the medium. [KEYWORDS: Anoxia; Antibiotics; Molybdate; Sulfide; Bivalves; Mortality; Cerastoderma edule; Chamelea gallina; Scapharca inaequivalvis]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ID: 380126