Biochemical biomarkers in chronically metal-stressed daphnids

Jemec A, Tišler T, Drobne D, Sepčić K, Jamnik P, Roš M
[ pdf ] [ site ] Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology & Pharmacology, 2007

Biochemical biomarkers are a popular measure of toxic effects on organisms due to their assumed fast response, and are usually assessed after acute exposure of the organism to the stressor. However, increasing interest in the use of biochemical biomarkers in environmental pollution monitoring calls for more laboratory long-term studies of contaminants’ effects on biochemical endpoints. In this study, four biochemical biomarkers (protein content, activity of cholinesterase (ChE), catalase (CAT) and glutathione S-transferase (GST), were correlated with standardised reproductive and survival endpoints of water fleas (Daphnia magna) after chronic exposure to Cr(VI) and Cd. No effect on the reproduction and survival was noticed up to the highest tested concentration of Cr(VI) (52.5 μg/L), while the protein content, and the ChE and CAT activity decreased, and GST activity increased. Cd affected reproduction of daphnids above 0.656 μg/L, but the protein content and ChE activity were changed at 0.328 μg/L and 0.082 μg/L of Cd, respectively. Biochemical biomarkers in some cases proved to be equally or more sensitive than reproduction and mortality. We recommend more frequent use of a battery of biochemical biomarkers in combination with other higher-level biomarkers also in chronic studies and not only in the acute ones.