Developing biomarkers of sewage effluent exposure in gammarids
Governments, regulatory authorities and water companies are under increasing pressure to assess and monitor the water quality of wastewater-polluted watercourses. By measuring the gene expression of selected stress genes in model organisms, effects can be identified that don't directly kill the organism, but can do long-term damage. Molecular biomarkers thus serve as an early warning system for effects on organisms - but there is sill a lack of biomarkers for invertebrates. Therefore, a number of potential stress biomarkers will be developed in Gammarus sp. after exposure to municipal wastewater and pesticide mixtures. They will provide valuable information on the health of these ecologically important invertebrates.
For the development of molecular biomarkers in gammarids, the gene expression of animals collected upstream and downstream of wastewater treatment plants or agricultural land will first be compared. In this way, genes can be identified that react specifically to pollution.