Sub-lethal cadmium exposure increases phytochelatin concentrations in the aquatic snail Lymnaea stagnalis

SF Gonçalves, SK Davies, M Bennett, A Raab, J Feldmann, P Kille, S Loureiro, DJ Spurgeon, JG Bundy

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Phytochelatins are metal-binding metabolites found in almost all plant species and some animal groups, including nematodes and annelids, where they can play an important role in detoxifying metals such as cadmium. Species from several other taxa contain a phytochelatin synthase (PCS) gene orthologue, including molluscs, indicating they may have the potential to synthesize phytochelatins. However, the presence of a gene alone does not demonstrate that it plays a functional role in metal detoxification. In the present study, we show that the aquatic snail Lymnaea stagnalis produced both penta- and heptapeptide phytochelatins (i.e. phytochelatin-2 and phytochelatin-3), and their levels increased in response to sub-lethal levels of cadmium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1058
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date26 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank Virginie Ducrot and INRA for providing the snails and the opportunity to participate in the reproduction toxicity test design for Lymnaea stagnalis. This study was partially supported by a grant to SFG (PTDC/AAC-AMB/117178/2010). CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2013) also received financial support through FCT/MEC (through national funds) and the co-funding by the FEDER (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-00763), within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020.


  • Lymnaea stagnalis
  • cadmium
  • metal pollution
  • phytochelatin
  • detoxification


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