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  • 1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK Balaton Limnological Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Manchester M13 9PT, UK P.O. Box 35, H-8237 Tihany, Hungary
  • | 2 The Rayne Institute, St. Thomas' Hospital, Gastrointestinal Laboratory London, SE1 7EH, UK
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Significant amounts of aluminium (Al) are commonly present in rivers and lakes, largely in particulate form in neutral waters. Freshwater bivalves, as filter feeders are therefore exposed to both particulate and dissolved metal and are potentially vulnerable to Al. The effect of Al on filtering behaviour of the freshwater mussel Anodonta cygnea L. was investigated during short (1 hour) and long-term (15 days) exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations (250 and 500 mg l-1) at neutral pH. Water flow through the outflow siphon was monitored as an indicator of pumping capacity. Short-term (1 hour) exposure to 500 mg l-1 added Al produced an irreversible decrease in the duration of filtering periods, presumably as an avoidance response to the toxicant. One-hour exposure 250 mg l-1 Al had no detectable effect. When mussels were exposed to 250 or 500 mg l-1 added Al for 15 days, siphon activity measured in days 11-15 of exposure was inhibited by 50% and 65%, respectively, compared to pre-exposure levels. Recovery occurred following transfer of mussels to uncontaminated water. Interaction between Al and freshwater bivalves at neutral pH may affect both the performance of the mussels and the chemical speciation of the metal in the natural environment.

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