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Chapter 12

The Terrestrial Lizard Podarcis sicula as Experimental Model in Emerging Pollutants Evaluation

Given their strong site fidelity and low mobility, lizards have been identified as potential model species for terrestrial vertebrate ecotoxicology since they can provide useful information about land-based pollution. Lizards can be directly exposed to fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical substances used in agriculture and livestock breeding through various routes: ingestion of soil and contaminated food, dermal exposure, inhalation, maternal transfer to eggs, and absorption by eggs of contaminants from environments. The advantage of using Podarcis sicula as a bioindicator of estrogen pollution is that its reproductive cycle is well known, both in males and females. Males, in particular, are excellent sentinels since they are able to synthesize vitellogenin (VTG) when exposed to an estrogenic environment; hence, VTG is commonly used as a biomarker of pollution from estrogenic compounds, mainly in aquatic or semi-aquatic species. In this chapter, we present data collected using P. sicula as an experimental model for monitoring soil health status in both intensive and organic farming, as well as for the study of damage caused at tissutal and cellular levels following environmental contamination by estrogenic compounds.

Publication details

Print publication date
15 Jun 2017
Copyright year
Print ISBN
ePub eISBN
From the book series:
Issues in Toxicology