Assessing the spatial pattern of a river water quality in southern Brazil by multivariate analysis of biological and chemical indicators
Abstract This study assessed the genotoxicity and chemical quality of the Rio dos Sinos, southern Brazil. During two years, bimonthly, cuttings of Tradescantia pallida var. purpurea with flower buds were exposed to river water samples from Caraá, Santo Antônio da Patrulha, Taquara and Campo Bom, which are municipalities located in the upper, middle and lower stretches of the Rio dos Sinos basin. Simultaneously, chemical parameters were analyzed, rainfall data were surveyed and negative (distilled water) and positive (0.1% formaldehyde) controls were made. Micronuclei (MCN) frequencies were determined in tetrads of pollen grain mother cells. From the upper stretch toward the lower, there was an increase in the frequency of MCN and in concentrations of chemical parameters. Cadmium, lead, copper, total chromium and zinc were present at the four sites and a concentration gradient was not demonstrated along the river. The multivariate analysis revealed that two principal components exist, which accounted for 62.3% of the observed variances. Although genotoxicity was observed in Santo Antônio da Patrulha, the water presented higher mean values for most of the assessed parameters, in the lower stretch, where urbanization and industrialization are greater. The spatial and temporal pattern of water quality observed reinforces the importance of considering the environmental factors and their effects on organisms in an integrated way in watercourse monitoring programs.