Bauxite manufacturing residues from Gardanne (France) and Portovesme (Italy) exert different patterns of pollution and toxicity to sea urchin embryos

Pagano G., de Biase A., Iaccarino M., Meric S., Petruzzelli D., Tunay O., ...More

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY, vol.21, no.6, pp.1272-1278, 2002 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1272-1278
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This study was designed to investigate the composition and toxicity of solid residues from bauxite manufacturing plants, Soil and dust samples were collected in the proximity of two bauxite plants (Gardanne, France, and Portovesme, Italy). Samples were analyzed for their content of some selected inorganic contaminants by means of inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) either following acid digestion procedures or by seawater release of soluble components. Toxicity was tested by sea urchin bioassays to evaluate a set of toxicity endpoints including acute embryotoxicity, developmental defects, changes, in sperm fertilization success, transmissible damage from sperm to the offspring, and cytogenetic abnormalities, Inorganic analysis showed two distinct sets of inorganic contaminants in Gardanne versus Portovesme, including Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb, Ti, and Zn; sample composition (seawater-soluble contaminants) and toxicity showed a noteworthy association. The most severe toxicity to embryogenesis and to sperm fertilization success was exerted by some Portovesme samples (0.03-0.5% w/v), with a significant association between toxicity and dose-related seawater release of Zn, Ph, and Mn. Seawater extraction of a toxic dust sample (G20) from the Gardanne factory showed increasing seawater release of Al, Fe, and Mn; the G20 sample, at the level of 0.5%, affected both developing sea urchin embryos and sperm (offspring quality), Soil samples around the Gardanne factory showed the highest frequency of toxic soil sites eastward from the factory. The present data point to solid deposition from bauxite plants, as a potential subject of environmental health concern. The results suggest that extraction methods for evaluating the toxicity of complex mixtures should be based on the environmental availability of mixture components. The differences in sample toxicity among the tested sites, however, suggest possible site-to-site variability in geochemical and/or technological parameters.