96   Exploitation of environmental DNA (eDNA) for ecotoxicological research: A critical review on eDNA metabarcoding in assessing marine pollution

Rishan S.T., Kline R.J., Rahman M.S. (2024) Chemosphere, 351, art. no. 141238,  DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2024.141238

ABSTRACT: The rise in worldwide population has led to a noticeable spike in the production, consumption, and transportation of energy and food, contributing to elevated environmental pollution. Marine pollution is a significant global environmental issue with ongoing challenges, including plastic waste, oil spills, chemical pollutants, and nutrient runoff, threatening marine ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. Pollution detection and assessment are crucial to understanding the state of marine ecosystems. Conventional approaches to pollution evaluation usually represent laborious and prolonged physical and chemical assessments, constraining their efficacy and expansion. The latest advances in environmental DNA (eDNA) are valuable methods for the detection and surveillance of pollution in the environment, offering enhanced sensibility, efficacy, and involvement. Molecular approaches allow genetic information extraction from natural resources like water, soil, or air. The application of eDNA enables an expanded evaluation of the environmental condition by detecting both identified and unidentified organisms and contaminants. eDNA methods are valuable for assessing community compositions, providing indirect insights into the intensity and quality of marine pollution through their effects on ecological communities. While eDNA itself is not direct evidence of pollution, its analysis offers a sensitive tool for monitoring changes in biodiversity, serving as an indicator of environmental health and allowing for the indirect estimation of the impact and extent of marine pollution on ecosystems. This review explores the potential of eDNA metabarcoding techniques for detecting and identifying marine pollutants. This review also provides evidence for the efficacy of eDNA assessment in identifying a diverse array of marine pollution caused by oil spills, harmful algal blooms, heavy metals, ballast water, and microplastics. In this report, scientists can expand their knowledge and incorporate eDNA methodologies into ecotoxicological research. 

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