The Effects of Single and Combined Stressors on Daphnids-Enzyme Markers of Physiology and Metabolomics Validate the Impact of Pollution


The continuous global increase in population and consumption of resources due to human activities has had a significant impact on the environment. Therefore, assessment of environmental exposure to toxic chemicals as well as their impact on biological systems is of significant importance. Freshwater systems are currently under threat and monitored; however, current methods for pollution assessment can neither provide mechanistic insight nor predict adverse effects from complex pollution. Using daphnids as a bioindicator, we assessed the impact in acute exposures of eight individual chemicals and specifically two metals, four pharmaceuticals, a pesticide and a stimulant, and their composite mixture combining phenotypic, biochemical and metabolic markers of physiology. Toxicity levels were in the same order of magnitude and significantly enhanced in the composite mixture. Results from individual chemicals showed distinct biochemical responses for key enzyme activities such as phosphatases, lipase, peptidase, β-galactosidase and glutathione-S-transferase. Following this, a more realistic mixture scenario was assessed with the aforementioned enzyme markers and a metabolomic approach. A clear dose-dependent effect for the composite mixture was validated with enzyme markers of physiology, and the metabolomic analysis verified the effects observed, thus providing a sensitive metrics in metabolite perturbations. Our study highlights that sensitive enzyme markers can be used in advance on the design of metabolic and holistic assays to guide the selection of chemicals and the trajectory of the study, while providing mechanistic insight. In the future this could prove to become a useful tool for understanding and predicting freshwater pollution.

Authors: Anna Michalaki, Allan Robert McGivern, Gernot Poschet, Michael Büttner, Rolf Altenburger, Konstantinos Grintzalis
; Full Source: Toxics 2022 Oct 12;10(10):604. doi: 10.3390/toxics10100604.