The Caspian region and specifically the Apsheron peninsula of Azerbaijan are known to be polluted with a variety of environmental contaminants. These complex mixtures of contaminants make risk assessment difficult. We used the flow cytometry method (FCM) and the micronucleus assay (MN) to assess chromosomal damage in aquatic turtles (Emys orbicularis, the European pond turtle; and Mauremys caspica, the Caspian turtle) inhabiting contaminated wetlands in Azerbaijan. Evidence of genetic damage was found for two sites, Neftchala and Sumgayit, relative to a reference site, Ali Bairamly. Sediment samples from each site were analyzed for PAHs and mercury to evaluate potential contaminant associations with genetic damage. A significant positive correlation was documented between three-ring PAH sediment concentrations and FCM estimates of chromosomal damage in E. orbicularis. These data combine to show that the contaminated wetlands in Sumgayit and Neftchala are genotoxic and that three-ring PAHs are likely a significant influence on observed genotoxicity.
- Flow Cytometry