Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 9, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

The effects of organotin on female gastropods

Author affiliations


Female masculinisation (FM) in gastropods (imposex, intersex and ovo-testis) has been documented in > 260 species globally. Biomonitoring studies use FM to indirectly assess the presence of tributyltin (TBT), a once popular biocide in antifouling paint, which has since been regulated. Laboratory studies confirm that FM in gastropods can be induced not only by TBT, but other tin (Sn) compounds, Sn “cocktails”, steroids, and other contaminants such as Aroclor 1260. Even though FM in gastropods in the field has been attributed to TBT from boating activity, there is evidence that imposex occurred prior to the advent use of TBT in the 1960s, and for some species imposex occurs naturally. There are roughly 42 species that do not elicit a FM response even if they are exposed to TBT under laboratory conditions, collected sympatrically with other species displaying FM, and/or have TBT in their tissues. A geographic analysis of field studies in four regions indicates that the bulk of studies were conducted in Europe > Asia and Oceania > North America > Latin America. More data are needed regarding FM in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America since data regarding the masculinisation of female gastropods in these areas are lacking. The most studied gastropod species used in TBT biomonitoring studies is the dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus. This review summarizes the progression of the literature from 1962 to 2009 outlining how the terminology, science, and theories have evolved over time.

Graphical abstract: The effects of organotin on female gastropods

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 07 Jan 2011, accepted on 21 Jun 2011 and first published on 08 Aug 2011

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10011D
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2011,13, 2360-2388
  •   Request permissions

    The effects of organotin on female gastropods

    C. P. Titley-O'Neal, K. R. Munkittrick and B. A. MacDonald, J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 2360
    DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10011D

Search articles by author