Contamination of potentially toxic metals (PTMs) can be detrimental to ecological processes, diversity and physiology of biological components of the surrounding habitat of estuarine and coastal environment. In our study, an inclusive approach to measure ecotoxicological parameters was followed considering spatial concentration of PTMs in the sediment system, sediment quality status, ecological risk level, bioconcentration in mangrove tissue and resulting biochemical and antioxidative response in mangroves Avicennia alba and Excoecaria agallocha in eight locations in and around Indian Sundarban. Sediments in location L4 and L8 showed highest concentration of PTMs having maximum enrichment factors, geo-accumulation indices, contamination factors and pollution load indices signifying progressively deteriorated sediment quality of the estuary and considerable ecological risk for cadmium. Significant statistical correlation observed between chlorophyll content, free radical scavenging activity, reducing ability and stress enzyme activity (peroxidase, catalase and super oxide dismutase) of mangroves with PTM concentration in respective study areas. This work will help to frame effective prediction, assessment and management policies in this extremely eco-sensitive region by envisioning the status of augmented human activities leading to considerable metal stress in the estuarine sediment and consequent ecotoxicological response as the coping up mechanisms.
Volume 131, 2022
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