Contaminant monitoring and detection of alkB genes in the Argentine-Uruguayan Common Fishing Zone


  • Silvia R. Peressutti Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, Paseo Victoria Ocampo Nº1, Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • Pablo A. Zorzoli Servicio de Hidrografía Naval, Av. Montes de Oca 2124, C1270ABV - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina



Marine environment, persistent contaminants, catabolic genes


In this study, the presence of diverse pollutants in sediments samples was determined in the Río de la Plata and the Argentine-Uruguayan Common Fishing Zone (AUCFZ 35° S-38° S). In addition, the occurrence of microbial genes alkB, used as functional markers, was analyzed in order to determine the hydrocarbon degradation potential along this marine environment. Heavy metals were detected in sampling sites UY1, RdP4 and AR2. Cr was found in a range from < 5.0 to 20.7 mg kg-1, and Pb from not detectable (ND) to 26.0 mg kg-1. Both Cd and Hg showed values under detection limits (< 0.2 mg kg-1 and < 0.01 mg kg-1, respectively). Cu varied between ND and 24.6 mg kg-1, and it was the only metal that overcame the values recommended by the ISQG (Interim Sediment Quality Guideline), in the guide levels for biota protection in sediments (CCME, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment). Hydrocarbons, atrazine, glyphosate + AMPA (aminomethyl phosphonic acid) and pesticides values were under the quantification limits, while PCBs (from < 20.0 to 77.7 µg kg-1) exceeded the action level A for the ‘Recommendations for the Management of Dredging Material in Spanish Ports’. Purified microbial genomic DNA was obtained in eight from the nine analyzed samples, and the catabolic gen alkB was amplified in sampling sites UY2, UY1, RdP4, AR2 and AR1. Further studies are needed to evaluate the microbial biodegradation potential in this area. These researches mean a valuable input in order to investigate the impact of the anthropogenic disturbances on marine ecosystems and to understand the mechanisms of natural attenuation.


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Author Biography

Silvia R. Peressutti, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, Paseo Victoria Ocampo Nº1, Mar del Plata, Argentina


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How to Cite

Peressutti, S. R. and Zorzoli, P. A. (2022) “Contaminant monitoring and detection of alkB genes in the Argentine-Uruguayan Common Fishing Zone ”, Marine and Fishery Sciences (MAFIS), 36(1), pp. 75–89. doi: 10.47193/mafis.3612023010109.