• Methylmercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mediterranean seafood: a molecular anthropological perspective
  • De Giovanni, Andrea <1992>


  • BIO/08 Antropologia


  • Seafood carries several contaminants, among which mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are those that cause major concern. Evidence exists that human populations are exposed to these environmental chemicals since ancient times, which may have driven the positive selection of specific genetic polymorphisms related to chemicals toxicokinetic. Both mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are able to cause DNA methylation changes in humans. Some Mediterranean populations may be particularly exposed to these contaminants, being the Mediterranean Sea at a high-risk for contamination by toxic compounds, and because of their traditionally high consumption of locally caught seafood. Starting from these premises the present thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the molecular impact of seafood consumption on the biology of the Mediterranean population. To this end the work has been divided into four main parts: (1) the development and meta-analysis of a georeferenced database on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mediterranean seafood aimed at identifying geographical patterns of contamination and trends that could be related to the biology of the marine organisms, to the physico-chemical properties of each hydrocarbon and to the oceanographic characteristic of the Mediterranean; (2) the development and validation of a food frequency questionnaire to estimate the intake of mercury through seafood consumption among a population living in a geographic area that is usually considered a contamination hotspot; (3) the creation of a biobank made of biological samples from members of several Italian communities together with information on their dietary habits, lifestyle and general health; (4) a review of the literature on the genetic component of individual susceptibility to methylmercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure in humans, to the effects that these pollutants have on human DNA methylation, and to the evidence that Mediterranean coastal communities represent an informative case study to investigate the potential molecular impact of these chemicals.


  • 2023-06-16


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



De Giovanni, Andrea (2023) Methylmercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Mediterranean seafood: a molecular anthropological perspective, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Tecnologie innovative e uso sostenibile delle risorse di pesca e biologiche del mediterraneo (fishmed-phd) , 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10940.