In European limnetic systems, the most relevant endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) of steroid type are the natural and synthetic hormones, phytosterols, pesticides, biocides and other chemicals produced by the plastic industry. Their presence in aquatic ecosystems represents a potentially adverse environmental and public health impact. Furthermore, this is a warning signal that the current handling of pharmaceuticals needs to be further improved. Nowadays, it has become clear that EDCs have specific disturbing effects on the neuroendocrine system of invertebrate and vertebrate aquatic animals, particularly gastropods. Among a latter, pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) has been used as the first aquatic non-arthropod test organism in studying the effect of EDCs because they are sensitive to various anthropogenic steroids, like progestogens. Investigating a variety of reproductive endpoints of Lymnaea, such as fecundity, oocyte production, egg mass production, the quality of egg masses, the shell size in development and after egg-laying, the time window of cell division in the offspring, the metabolite content of single-cell zygotes and egg albumen has concluded that progestogen contaminations in water are detrimental for reproduction and early stage development of Lymnaea. This chapter is an attempt to show whether Lymnaea reproduction, despite many altering reproductive endpoints, is a suitable model for environmental risk assessment or not.
Part of the book: Biological Resources of Water