Are we neglecting Earth while conquering space? Effects of aluminized solid rocket fuel combustion on the physiology of a tropical freshwater invertebrate

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Rivera-Ingraham Georgina A.1, 4, Andrade Madalena2, Vigouroux Regis1, Solé Montserrat3, Brokordt Katherina4, 5, Lignot Jehan-Hervé6, Freitas Rosa2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire Environnement de Petit Saut. Hydreco, Kourou. French Guiana
2 : Departmento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro. Portugal
3 : Instituto de Ciencias Del Mar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (ICM-CSIC), Barcelona. Spain
4 : Laboratorio de Fisiología y Genética Marina (FIGEMA), Departamento de Acuicultura, Facultad de Ciencias Del Mar, Universidad Católica Del Norte, Coquimbo. Chile
5 : Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), Coquimbo. Chile
6 : UMR 9190-MARBEC. Université de Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer. Montpellier. France
Source Chemosphere (0045-6535) (Elsevier BV), 2021-04 , Vol. 268 , P. 128820 (12p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128820
WOS© Times Cited 3
Keyword(s) Acidification, Aluminum oxide, Biomarkers, Crustaceans, Homeostasis, Propergol toxicity

Space launchers often use aluminized-solid fuel (“propergol”) as propellant and its combustion releases tons of Al2O3 and HCl that sink in terrestrial and aquatic environments, polluting and decreasing water pH. We studied the impact of these events on the biochemical/physiological performance of the freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium jelskii, with wild specimens collected from a non-impacted site in French Guiana. In the laboratory, shrimps were exposed for one week to: i) undisturbed conditions; ii) Al2O3 exposure (0.5 mg L-1) at normal pH (6.6); iii) decreased pH (4.5) (mimicking HCl release in the environment) with no Al2O3; or iv) Al2O3 0.5 mg L-1 and pH 4.5, representing the average conditions found in the water bodies around the Ariane 5 launch pad. Results showed that shrimps bioaccumulated Al regardless of water pH. The combined effect of Al2O3 and low pH caused the most impact: acetylcholinesterase and carboxylesterase activities decreased, indicating neurotoxicity and reduced detoxification capacity, respectively. Animal respiration was enhanced with Al2O3 and pH variations alone, but the synergic interaction of both stressors caused respiration to decrease, suggesting metabolic depression. Oxidative damage followed a similar pattern to respiration rates across conditions, suggesting free radical-mediation in Al toxicity. Antioxidant activities varied among enzymes, with glutathione reductase being the most impacted by Al2O3 exposure. This study shows the importance of addressing space ports’ impact on the environment, setting the bases for selecting the most appropriate biomarkers for future monitoring programs using a widespread and sensitive crustacean in the context of an increasing space-oriented activity across the world.

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Rivera-Ingraham Georgina A., Andrade Madalena, Vigouroux Regis, Solé Montserrat, Brokordt Katherina, Lignot Jehan-Hervé, Freitas Rosa (2021). Are we neglecting Earth while conquering space? Effects of aluminized solid rocket fuel combustion on the physiology of a tropical freshwater invertebrate. Chemosphere, 268, 128820 (12p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :