The aims of this study were to validate several biochemical parameters as biomarkers of pollution in the freshwater bivalve Corbicula fluminea and to underline the interest of a multibiomarker approach in environmental biomonitoring. The study was divided into a laboratory exposure to 4 doses of trichloroethylene, toluene, cadmium chloride or a coal tar fraction for 5 days and a field exposure for one week in 5 sites surrounding an industrial effluent outlet. Whatever the product was, parameters that exhibited significant responses were mainly parameters related to oxidative stress and components of phase I metabolism. As a result of discriminant analysis, doses were clearly discriminated from the control and from each other. Likewise, products were discriminated from each other, based on results of the whole parameter responses obtained for the first dose. Concerning the field experiment, all biochemical parameters assayed exhibited significant responses for sites located downstream of the effluent outlet, compared to the upstream reference site. Through a discriminant analysis, sites could be distinguished from each other in terms of pollution intensity. In order to characterise pollution at a qualitative level, further laboratory and field studies are needed to obtain typical profiles for the main pollutants present in freshwater ecosystems.

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