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Iron Pollution in Dora Baltea River (Valle D’aosta, North-Western Italy): A Case of Acute Toxicity in Wild Brown Trout (Salmo trutta trutta) pp. 339-348 $100.00
Authors:  (Marino Prearo, Stefania Squadrone, Concetta Antonia Elia, Ilaria Giorgi, Renata Tarasco, Ambrosius Josef Martin Dörr, Maria Cesarina Abete, State Veterinary Institute of Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta, Turin, Italy, and others)
Abstract:
Mortality events occur in wild fish population, often due to unknown cause and related to industrial and urban pollution or agricultural dumping. Not appropriate controls on the territory and not always well-timed mortality registrations and samples collection bring to not reliable results or to specimens not suitable to be analysed. The aim is to describe an acute mortality event in wild brown trout (Salmo trutta trutta) that took place in Dora Baltea River of Aosta city (Valle d‘Aosta, north-western Italy). In this area a steel mill is situated, and its refuses, previous clearance, input directly in the river. Dora Baltea River, in the stream that crosses the city, is characterized by a fish population of only one species, even if this zone should have a potential biodiversity (brown trout and marble trout/grayling). In the late winter of 2007, the local authority signalled an important mortality of several hundred of brown trout specimen along the river, starting from Aosta as far as Pollein (AO).
Fish samples were collected from the riverbed to be analysed with anatomopathological, cultural and virological tests. Iron, chromium and lead, which could have derived from the local steel mill industrial process, were determined in gills and gastric content. Healthy specimens of brown trout collected from a local fish farm were employed as negative controls. Anatomopathological tests showed a high presence of mucus in gills with ―Gill Disease‖ and compact material between gills lamellae, while no other skin or viscera alteration were present. Cultural and virological tests resulted negatives. Chemical analyses revealed an extremely high iron level in gills and gastric content, and low levels of chromium and lead. Mortality was then imputed to the toxic effect of iron, released in the river at high dosage due to an abnormal control of effluent functioning system. In fact, iron is usually not present in river bed sediments at those levels. At the same time anatomopathological investigations showed that fish died for asphyxia as a consequence of the high mucus production in gills contaminated by iron. The analyses performed in the months following the acute toxicity episode did not point out chronic pollution effects on fish fauna and environment. 


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Iron Pollution in Dora Baltea River (Valle D’aosta, North-Western Italy): A Case of Acute Toxicity in Wild Brown Trout (Salmo trutta trutta) pp. 339-348